Gray supporters rally amid investigation


Washington resident Jeri Hughes rode her Harley past the Wilson Building to show support for D.C.'s Mayor Gray on Wednesday July 18th, 2012. Jeri was attending a Pro-Mayor Vincent Gray rally outside the Wilson Building. (Tracy A. Woodward/THE WASHINGTON POST)

About two dozen backers of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray rallied outside the Wilson Building on Wednesday in a show of support that included a plea for calm and patience as a federal investigation of the mayor’s 2010 campaign continues.

The two prominent D.C. ministers who organized the event said the investigation should be allowed to run its course. That plea countered calls last week by three D.C. Council members for Gray (D) to step down.

“Whatever is going to come out is going to be what comes out,” said the Rev. Graylan Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, one of the organizers. “We’re calling for civility. We believe the mayor deserves due process.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI are investigating Gray’s official campaign, as well as a secret “shadow campaign” that prosecutors say used about $653,000 in undisclosed funds on behalf of Gray. Prosecutors have not alleged that Gray participated in or had knowledge of either scheme.

Hagler and the Rev. Willie F. Wilson also referred to council members David Catania (I-At large), Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), all of whom called for the mayor to resign. The two ministers urged city leaders not to “commit to any more drama or trauma” and to focus on serving their constituents.

“They may be politicians, but it’s time to take off your political hat and put on a hat that cares for those who you serve with and for those in the District as a whole,” Hagler said.

Wilson, of Union Temple Baptist Church in Anacostia, said he plans to ask the District’s elections board to investigate the other mayoral candidates in the 2010 campaign, in the interest of balance.

“If you look at anything hard enough and long enough, you will be able to find something wrong,” Wilson said.

Johnnie Durant, a Gray supporter at the rally, said she still believes in the mayor and his innocence.

“I don’t think it’s going to turn out the way people think it will,” she said. “If he’s guilty of anything, it’s naivete. . . . I just want him to be given a chance. We have things to do in the city. Why do we want to go on a witch hunt?”

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