Neither Brooks nor his attorney, Glenn F. Ivey, identified the person who gave the order to pay Brown. Prosecutors say in court documents that the instruction came during a June 2010 meeting involving Brooks, assistant campaign treasurer Thomas W. Gore and an unnamed “Person A.”
Brooks, 64, pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators who were looking into Brown’s claims about a month after they first appeared in The Washington Post. Under a preliminary determination of federal sentencing guidelines, Brooks could face up to six months in prison but will be eligible for a sentence of probation only.
“Yes, your honor,” a bearded, blue-eyed and relaxed Brooks repeatedly told Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly as he admitted to the payments and entered the plea.
Brooks is the second Gray campaign figure to plead guilty to a federal charge this week. Gore, 56, admitted Tuesday to obstructing justice by shredding a notebook containing records of payments to Brown, as well as campaign-finance misdemeanors related to the payments themselves.
Brooks’s charge, making false statements, is less serious than Gore’s. He was also not charged with campaign-finance violations, although he acknowledged taking blank money orders worth $2,000 from Gore, signing them and giving them to the Gray campaign as his own — a “straw donation.”
People familiar with the investigation but not authorized to comment publicly confirmed that Brooks has cooperated with investigators, including wearing a recording device during conversations with Gore.
Ivey would not confirm that his client wore a device but said that Brooks had cooperated and will continue to cooperate “fully” with prosecutors. “Whatever they ask,” he said.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. said that Brooks’s plea “further reveals the underhanded dealings that tainted the integrity of the 2010 mayoral campaign.”
Machen gave Brooks “some credit” for coming clean. “We urge others to do the same as we continue our efforts to get to the bottom of what happened during the 2010 election,” he said.
Charging documents indicate that Brooks initially lied to FBI agents in April 2011, telling them that he never gave “cash, money orders or other type of payments” when, in fact, he did.
Brooks admitted delivering three $500 money orders to Brown “on or about” Aug. 2, 2010. Brown told a D.C. Council committee last year that Brooks had given him two $500 money orders on that date, with instructions to “put the heat on Fenty” at a Ward 4 debate two days later.
Brown told the council panel that he had spoken directly to Gray at a restaurant after the debate and that Gray told him, “I think Howard has something for you.” Brooks, Brown testified, gave him money orders worth $500 and $150.