“It’s all lies,” D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray told WRC-TV today, referring to prosecutors’ allegations in federal court Monday that he knew about the “shadow campaign” — the secret and unlawful effort to support Gray’s 2010 mayoral campaign. In laying out their case against D.C. businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson, prosecutors told a federal judge that Gray had personally asked for Thompson’s help and that Gray had agreed to keep the assistance secret.
As you sift through the fresh reports on the allegations and try to figure out where the truth lies, bear in mind the first responses of other well-known local politicians who found themselves similarly situated. Recall, too, the final outcome of those events.
Jack Johnson, former Prince George’s County executive: “I’m innocent of these charges and I just can’t wait for the facts to come out. When they come out, I am absolutely convinced that I’m going to be-that we will be vindicated.” [CNN, November 13, 2010]
After Johnson was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for leading a corruption conspiracy: “I’m sorry. I ask the people of Prince George’s County to forgive me.” [Washington Post, Dec. 6, 2011]
Harry Thomas Jr., former D.C. Council member: “There was no misuse of funds.” [WJLA, June 6, 2011]
After Thomas was sentenced to 38 months in prison for embezzlement: There is “no excuse for my poor decisions I made. … What I did was wrong and I broke the law. … I humiliated my wife and my children.” [WJLA, May 2, 2012]
Michael Brown, former D.C. Council member: “Now that I’m cleared, people are focusing on my campaign. They are excited that this ethical cloud is now behind me. I knew it should have never been there anyway.” [The Afro American, March 6, 2013]
After appearing in court to answer a charge of felony bribery of a public official: “Guilty.” [Washington Post, June 11, 2013]
Gray has not been charged with any crime. He deserves the presumption of innocence. But, Vince, my man, you’ve got to do way better than that.