Leslie Johnson seeks third delay of hearing

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 11, 2011; 12:34 AM

For the third time, Prince George's County Council member Leslie E. Johnson has asked a judge to delay a preliminary hearing on federal evidence-tampering charges, saying she needs more time to investigate the allegations.

"Although Ms. Johnson continues to diligently investigate the pending allegations, she still needs more time to conclude that investigation and prepare her defense," defense attorneys Shawn M. Wright and Hardy Vieux wrote in papers filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. Johnson requested a delay of the hearing and "possible indictment."

Johnson (D-Mitchellville) and her husband, former Prince George's executive Jack B. Johnson (D), were arrested in November amid a sweeping corruption probe in the county. FBI agents said in court papers an investigation revealed that developers and others had been "regularly providing things of value" to public officials in return for favors.

On Nov. 12, as FBI agents knocked on the door of the Johnsons' Mitchellville home, the couple were overheard on a wiretap plotting to flush a $100,000 check from a developer down a toilet and hide $79,000 in Leslie Johnson's bra, according to court papers.

Leslie Johnson initially was scheduled for a preliminary hearing in December. At her request, it has been delayed twice. Prosecutors do not oppose pushing the hearing back until April, court papers show.

Leslie Johnson, who was elected to the County Council on Nov. 2, has retained her seat.

Jack Johnson was indicted Feb. 14 on bribery charges. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for an arraignment.

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