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Posted at 09:53 AM ET, 07/05/2011

Leslie Johnson resigns council seat

Prince George’s County Council member Leslie Johnson, who pleaded guilty last week to destroying evidence in a federal investigation, submitted her resignation on Tuesday, her attorney said.

The resignation will be effective July 31, the last day before the council’s August recess, said Shawn M. Wright, Johnson’s defense lawyer.

But that is not soon enough for Johnson’s council colleagues.

After meeting behind closed doors for 90 minutes today, the rest of the council called for Johnson to step down immediately and voted to strip her of her council staff and her county-issued car and cellphone.

Johnson will, however, continue to collect her salary of $1,874 a week until her resignation takes effect.

After pleading guilty last week in a federal corruption investigation that targeted her husband, former County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D), Johnson, 59, had indicated she would remain in office until she is sentenced on Oct. 13.

But a number of officials, including Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) and some member of the council, have said Johnson (D-Mitchellvile) should step down immediately.

Today, Baker praised the council for taking the very public step of urging Johnson to step down.

“ I commend you, “ Baker told the council, moments after he had reiterated his own call for Johnson to leave office right away.

“We need to go on and deal with the issues that we will have to deal with in Prince George’s County,” Baker said shortly before the council emerged from its closed session. “It is an opportunity to move on to the great things we should be doing in Prince George’s County.”

The regularly scheduled council meeting began shortly after 10 a.m. with Leslie Johnson in her regular seat. When clerk Redis Floyd called the roll, Johnson answered clearly “Good morning. Present.”

The meeting followed the usual routine, with a prayer, and then the Pledge of Allegiance. After the pledge, Johnson left her seat and the dais, departing through a back door. Then her eight colleagues voted unanimously to go into executive session around 10:20 a.m.

Tweets from reporter Miranda Spivack:

By and Miranda Spivack  |  09:53 AM ET, 07/05/2011

 
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