Pressure is mounting against Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray as an investigation into a corruption scandal involving his 2010 election campaign intensifies and three members of the D.C. Council called Wednesday for the mayor’s resignation.
Jeanne Clark Harris, 75, a public relations consultant and longtime friend of Gray’s, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court, admitting she was involved in handling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a prominent contractor to help Gray’s campaign unseat incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty.
As part of a plea deal, Harris admitted she helped disburse and hide the funds from contractor Jeffrey Thompson, who had several major contracts with the Fenty administration.
News reports, citing campaign and investigation sources, have said Thompson apparently had switched his support to Gray, but the funds were hidden to give him cover in case Gray’s bid failed so he could continue doing business with the city.
Prosecutors have not said that Gray knew about the shadow campaign but that the effort was coordinated with members of his campaign. Harris said in court Tuesday that Thompson provided the money, but the plan was designed by another, unidentified person.
Harris faces up to 37 months in prison and a fine of as much as $60,000.
At a news conference to announce a green initiative for the city’s alleys on Wednesday, Gray fielded questions about the latest turn in the corruption scandal that has plagued his administration from the beginning.
“It isn’t the campaign that we intended to run,” Gray told reporters. Later, he said that he intended to complete the remainder of his term.
Council member David Catania (I-At Large), however, called for Gray to resign.
“I think the time has come for the mayor to step down,” he told NBC News4 on Wednesday.
“It isn’t enough for the mayor to say this isn’t the campaign we intended to run. It was the campaign he ran.”
Gray’s problems began shortly after he took office in January 2011.
Former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown said he was paid by Mayor Vincent Gray’s campaign to undermine then-incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty. In May, Howard Brooks, 64, a consultant to the Gray campaign’s treasury and financial teams pleaded guilty to providing funds to Brown, destroying evidence and obstructing the investigation into the case and another was accused of lying to FBI agents during the investigation.
The administration’s woes were intensified by the Council’s own scandals, which have resulted in the resignation of two members – including the Council president – and the passage of new ethics rules.
By late Wednesday, Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), who represents the city’s largely white and affluent residents in Northwest D.C. and who switched her support from Fenty to Gray in 2010, also called for the mayor’s resignation.
Council member Muriel Bowser (D), who represents Ward 4, a powerful ward, also in Northwest, which helped deliver the mayoralty to Gray, and who wrote the ethics legislation, also called for Gray to resign.
“I think that it’s frankly in the best interest of our city,” Bowser, who is rumored to have mayoral aspirations, told Fox 5 News.
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) said the calls for Gray’s resignation were “premature” and “destabilizing to the government” because Gray has not been charged with a crime.
Under D.C. law, the Council president would become mayor if Gray steps down, which would make Mendelson the first white mayor since the city won home rule in the 1970s.
U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. told reporters Tuesday that the corruption investigation was continuing and more charges were likely.
“The truth is going to come out in the end,” Machen said, “and it would be better for you to come forward on your own rather than wait for us to approach you.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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