By Ovetta Wiggins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 17, 2010; 8:26 PM
An online effort is underway in Prince George's County to prevent Leslie Johnson, who was arrested last week in a federal probe, from being sworn in to hold a council seat she was elected to this month.
The petition is the first public acknowledgment of what some, including county leaders, have said privately after Johnson and her husband, County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D), were arrested Friday. Federal investigators have charged them with tampering with evidence and destruction of evidence in an ongoing corruption investigation.
It's unclear when the effort began, but it was part of an e-mail discussion group on Wednesday. Some residents within Council District 6, which Johnson is to represent, launched the drive, saying "Leslie Johnson Must Resign Now!"
"Mrs. Leslie Johnson cannot represent us proudly and honestly on the [Prince George's] County Council," says the petition. "The first order of business for all of us should be to get Mrs. Leslie Johnson off the Council and start a clean slate."
Friday's arrest came after Jack B. Johnson allegedly pocketed $15,000 from a developer and federal investigators tapping his phone heard him tell his wife to flush a $100,000 check down the toilet and stuff $79,600 in cash in her bra.
"Although she has not been tried or convicted . . . the shame brought on our District 6 and [Prince George's] County is mighty and devastating," the petition says.
The organizers plan to present the signatures to the Maryland General Assembly, the Prince George's delegation and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).
State election officials have said there is no state law to prevent Leslie Johnson from being sworn in Dec. 6.
firstname.lastname@example.org Staff writer Hamil R. Harris and staff researcher Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.