Brown, who agreed to cooperate with investigators and remains free pending sentencing, then went to D.C. Superior Court and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating a city campaign statute that prohibits cash expenditures in excess of $50. He faces up to six months in jail on that charge.
The court proceedings were visibly humbling for a once brash and swashbuckling politician who referred to himself in the third person, was sworn into office by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and had compared himself to President John F. Kennedy. Just two days after resigning from the council hours after he was charged with bank fraud, Brown slunk past reporters lined up to attend his appearance in the District’s federal court. In the packed courtroom, he spoke so quietly that observers in the gallery could barely hear him. “Yes, your honor,” he replied meekly to Leon’s questions.
After the 23-minute hearing, Brown and his attorney went to the courthouse steps, where Brown read a statement that was contrite, emotional and combative.
“I served this city over seven years,” he said. “I love this city. Working for the residents has been an honor. I have worked every day on behalf of the people and have done it wholeheartedly. But six years ago, I made some very serious mistakes and judgments. And I have taken full and sole responsibility for those mistakes.”
“The government has not charged me with misspending, stealing or improperly using campaign funds,” he added. “I have not stolen or improperly used any campaign funds from either my 2004, 2008 or 2010 campaigns. I have not stolen or improperly used any public money.”
Brown then made the short trip across the street to the D.C. Superior Court building, where he was permitted the unusual courtesy of slipping in through a nonpublic entrance. Court officials said they worried that Brown and a swarm of reporters might disrupt courthouse business if they used the doors for the public.
In his second court appearance of the day, Brown was again restrained. After he signed a document waiving his right to a trial, he bowed his head, closed his eyes and handed the paper back to his attorney, Frederick D. Cooke Jr. Later, Cooke said Brown pleaded guilty to the federal and D.C. charges because “he did not want to put this city and his family through the drama of a trial.”