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Prince George's county executive charged with evidence tampering

Federal agents search the Mitchellville home of Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, Leslie Johnson, who was recently elected to the County Council, after they were arrested Friday.
Federal agents search the Mitchellville home of Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, Leslie Johnson, who was recently elected to the County Council, after they were arrested Friday. (Mark Gail)
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By Paul Schwartzman, Ruben Castaneda and Cheryl W. Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, November 13, 2010

Just after 10:12 a.m. Friday, Leslie Johnson frantically phoned her husband, Jack B. Johnson, the Prince George's county executive.

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Two FBI agents were at the front door of their two-story brick colonial in Mitchellville.

"Don't answer it," the county executive said, unaware that more agents were listening in.

Johnson ordered his wife to find and destroy a $100,000 check from a real estate developer that was hidden in a box of liquor.

"Do you want me to put it down the toilet?" Leslie Johnson asked.

"Yes, flush that," the county executive said.

But what about the cash? she asked - $79,600.

Put it in your underwear, the county executive told his wife.

She replied, "I have it in my bra" - which is where agents discovered the money after she answered the door.

That conversation, as documented in an FBI affidavit, led to the arrest Friday of Jack Johnson and his wife. Each was charged with evidence tampering and destroying evidence in a case the U.S. attorney called the "tip of the iceberg" in a broader corruption investigation in Prince George's.

"We don't go on fishing expeditions," U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said at a news conference. "We expect additional defendants and additional charges."

Appearing Friday night outside the federal courthouse in Greenbelt, Johnson vowed to fight.


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