Former D.C. Council chairman Kwame R. Brown should serve six days in jail followed by three years of supervised release, federal prosecutors urged a judge in court papers filed Thursday.
Brown (D), who resigned from the council and pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges in June, is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 13 before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon. He faces up to six months in jail under federal sentencing guidelines.
Meanwhile, Brown’s attorney asked Leon to spare the once-rising D.C. political star jail time and instead sentence him to two years of supervised release and 200 hours of community service. In a letter to the judge, Brown also sought leniency and tendered his own apology.
“My public humiliation, the pain that I have caused to my family, friends and supporters, the embarrassment that I have caused to the city that I love are all the consequences of my actions,” Brown wrote. “I did not intend those consequences, but they are the product of my actions nonetheless. It is difficult to find words to describe how badly I feel about bringing so much pain to so many people. I never imagined that I would be in such a situation.”
In pleading guilty, Brown admitted that he provided false information on applications to obtain two bank loans worth more than $200,000. Prosecutors noted that he faxed one of those applications — for a $166,000 home equity line of credit -- from his D.C. Council office in 2005, when he was an at-large member. Two years later, he applied for a $55,335 loan to buy a boat by switching a “3” to an “8” on a document, to inflate his salary as a consultant from $35,000 to $85,000. In both instances, Brown admitted that he lied to boost his prospects of obtaining a loan.
Brown “compromised the integrity of the banking system, which — because of the sheer volume of transactions that must occur daily to function — relies heavily on bank customers and loan applicants to be honest in their dealings,” wrote assistant U.S. attorneys David S. Johnson, Maia Miller and Matt Graves.
The crime warranted jail time because Brown was “someone in whom the citizens of the District of Columbia placed their trust to be a leader and role model,” the prosecutors wrote.
Although they advocated that Brown serve jail time — over three weekends to be followed by the three years of supervised release — prosecutors wrote that more serious punishment was not warranted. They noted that Brown had accepted responsibility for his misconduct and has no criminal record. He also cooperated with federal authorities, wrote the prosecutors, who did not specify how Brown helped investigators.
Brown’s attorney also did not specify the level of cooperation but cited it as a reason to spare his client time behind bars. He “has cooperated fully with federal authorities in an effort to provide assistance in furthering the investigation and prosecution of illegal activities here in the District,” wrote the attorney, Frederick D. Cooke Jr.
Cooke, who could not be reached Thursday, also asked the judge to credit his client’s “acceptance of responsibility, his well-documented history of extraordinary community service . . . [and] the vital role he plays as a husband and father for his young family.”
In addition to the federal case, Brown pleaded guilty in June to a city misdemeanor accusing him of violating a city campaign statute that prohibits cash expenditures in excess of $50. Sentencing on that charge is also scheduled for Nov. 13 before Judge Juliet J. McKenna in D.C. Superior Court.
Brown was the second council member to resign from office and plead guilty to felony charges this year. Harry Thomas Jr. was sentenced to 38 months in federal prison for stealing more than $350,000 in city funds. In addition, two aides with Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s 2010 mayoral campaign admitted that they funneled funds to a minor candidate in the hopes of keeping him in the race to assail then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). Gray (D) beat Fenty in the primary and cruised to victory in the general election.