District 6 officials and residents surprised by Johnson arrest
Councilwoman-elect opponent calls incident dark day' for Prince George's County
Photo gallery: View photos from the arrest.
It is too premature to determine what will happen to the Prince George's County Council's District 6 seat following the arrest Friday and pending federal investigation of its Councilwoman-elect, Leslie E. Johnson, a county spokeswoman said.
Johnson and her husband, outgoing County Executive Jack B. Johnson, face federal charges after Jack Johnson allegedly received at least $120,000 from a developer in return for "using his official influence and authority for the benefit of [the developer] and his companies," and tampering with evidence, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday by a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent.
The affidavit alleges Jack Johnson asked Leslie Johnson to tear up a $100,000 check from a developer and to exit their Mitchellville house with $79,600 in her underwear upon the arrival of FBI agents at their home.
Attorneys William Martin and Brian K. McDaniel, who unsuccessfully ran for the District 21 House of Delegates seat in September, are representing Jack Johnson. Attorneys Roland Patterson and Cynthia Carol Works are representing Leslie Johnson.
"She's not guilty of the charges," Patterson said. "Mrs. Johnson is asking for the prayers and support of all her family members and friends as she goes through the ordeal of fighting and disproving these allegations."
Leslie Johnson is currently under court supervision.
Leslie Johnson and the other incoming council members are scheduled to be sworn in Dec. 6. District 6 includes District Heights, Largo, Kettering, south Bowie, Mitchellville and greater Upper Marlboro.
"Clearly this is a shocking thing," said Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson. "The presumption is that Mrs. Johnson is innocent ... [but] it obviously poses a very challenging situation."
District Heights Vice Mayor Eddie Martin spoke highly of Leslie Johnson.
"Leslie ran a great campaign, as far as I know she did everything right," Martin said. "What it means for District 6 is we have to wait and see."
Arthur Turner of Kettering, who ran against Johnson for the council seat this fall, said that it was "a dark day for Prince George's County," but said that Johnson would have his support for the time being.
"She's not been convicted of any crime ... she's our leader, and I'm going to stand behind her until I learn otherwise," said Turner, who came in third in the primaries, trailing Johnson by more than 4,500 votes. "Everybody is innocent until proven guilty."
Phil Lee, president of the Kettering Civic Federation, said he was also surprised to hear of the arrests, but did not want to draw any conclusions until some proof of guilt emerged.
"The people believed Leslie Johnson was best to serve in the district," Lee said.
Leslie Johnson won September's primary election with more than 40 percent of the vote and was unopposed in the general election in November. She was elected to replace term-limited District 6 Councilman Samuel H. Dean (D) of Mitchellville, who did not immediately return a call for comment Friday.
Whatever the outcome, Friday's arrests could lead to positive change in the county, Robinson said.
County Executive-elect Rushern L. Baker III of Cheverly has pledged to weed out corruption in the county, and this could help him rally support for that task, Robinson said.
"It's going to be an interesting time," Robinson said.