Although news is scarce about the federal investigation into corruption and wrongdoing in the District’s official circles, that doesn’t mean things aren’t moving.
First there is Keely Thompson Jr., the former professional boxer who, along with his wife, Bianca, is awaiting trial in October on federal charges that they conspired to spend on personal goods and entertainment thousands of dollars in public money intended for their youth boxing center.
Two people familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the proceedings, have told me that Thompson has been in talks with the prosecution that could lead to a plea bargain and conclude his criminal case without a trial. (This would require the judge’s approval.)
Thompson’s attorney, Troy W. Poole, said Thursday, “I can’t comment on any plea negotiation. I am in the process of conducting my own investigation because I do not rely on the government’s investigation or presentation of the evidence. I am also in the process of reviewing numerous documents that the government has produced.”
The people I spoke with believe that Thompson could provide the prosecution with evidence showing a city official in a criminal act.
Bill Miller, the public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, replied to my inquiry via e-mail: “We have no comment on this particular matter.”
When and where any of this will surface is unknown.
Meanwhile, as I reported this week on The Post’s PostPartisan blog, Omar A. Karim, the president of the development company Banneker Ventures, and his attorney, Brian K. McDaniel, had a meeting in the U.S. attorney’s office Thursday at the prosecutor’s request.
Reached afterward, Karim said he could not discuss details of the session with Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth B. Waxman, two FBI agents and a representative of the D.C. Office of the Inspector General. The day before the meeting, however, Karim told me that he expected the discussion would get into the federal lawsuit he filed March 25 against D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), alleging that Graham “unlawfully, maliciously and purposefully interfered” with his company’s efforts to negotiate a real estate deal with Metro in 2008.
The lawsuit, which seeks $100 million in compensatory damages, also names as co-defendants a rival developer, LaKritz Adler, and Metro. Graham was the D.C. Council’s representative on Metro’s board at the time of the contracting dispute.
The day after the lawsuit was filed, Graham issued a statement calling the complaint “meritless” and denouncing Karim’s claims as “spurious and wholly unfounded.” It noted: “I look forward to an early dismissal.”
Whether Graham’s expectation will be fulfilled remains to be seen. Karim’s 60-page lawsuit contained a slew of allegations of wrongdoing and a feast of alleged details that might slake the thirst of any scandal lover.
Omar Karim’s tete-a-tete with the feds and the alleged plea bargaining involving Keely Thompson are not the only federal activity occurring off the radar screen.
There is also the legal dust-up between businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson and prosecutors in the office of U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen.
Jeffrey Thompson figures in the wide-ranging federal investigation of corruption in the 2010 election campaign of Mayor Vincent C. Gray. As part of their inquiry into whether Thompson allegedly financed a “shadow campaign” to aid Gray’s mayoral bid, federal authorities seized from Thompson’s home and office “about 23 million pages of documents and records on various electronic media.”
That description appeared in a May 2012 ruling by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth that denied Thompson’s efforts to block the government from reviewing the seized documents.
Thompson’s appeal of the ruling was denied in March by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and his request for a rehearing by the entire court was recently denied.
Does that mean the government has a green light to delve into Thompson’s personal and business records? Again, the answer is being worked out behind closed doors. Thompson may appeal to the Supreme Court. A call Thursday to his attorney Brendan V. Sullivan Jr., who usually does not discuss his cases, was not returned.
Our city is filled with hidden tales. Among the most intriguing: the feds’ interest in the Banneker Ventures lawsuit, the alleged plea bargaining taking place with Keely Thompson and the contents of the more than 60 boxes taken from Jeffrey Thompson’s possession in March 2012.
The real stories may be outside of public view.
Read more from Colbert King’s archive.