Prince George's County Councilwoman Leslie E. Johnson, charged in a federal bribery and extortion case along with her husband, former county executive Jack Johnson, resigned her seat today at a council meeting, according to Council Chairwoman Ingrid M. Turner.
Leslie Johnson (Dist. 6) voluntarily agreed to plead guilty last week to one count of conspiracy to commit evidence and witness tampering.
According to Maryland election law, Johnson will not be qualified to hold office once her sentence commences. Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 13.
Johnson's attorney told The Washington Post this morning that Johnson would hand in her resignation effective July 31.
During Tuesday's meeting, the county council quickly convened and entered an executive session for more than an hour, presumably to discuss the terms of Johnson's resignation.
County Executive Rushern L. Baker (D) said today that Johnson should resign as quickly as possible so that residents in her district can move forward with a special election.
"I think it's in the best interest of Prince George's County to move this county forward," he said. "It's up to Johnson when she resigns. ... I think we should have a special election as soon as possible."
Her husband had pleaded guilty to one count of extortion and one count of evidence tampering in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt last month.
Leslie Johnson was charged with conspiracy after a federal wiretap caught her destroying a $100,000 check from a developer last fall, court documents showed.
She was seen trying to stuff more than $79,000 in her undergarments as federal agents arrived at the Johnsons' home in Mitchellville last November after an investigation that took years, the charges stated.
The councilwoman was charged with conspiracy to commit witness and evidence tampering, according to published reports. Jack Johnson was indicted on extortion and bribery charges.
Prior to taking office, Leslie Johnson worked for the District of Columbia government, where she held a variety of positions, including legislative liaison and administrative law judge. She retired in 2009 after 27 years.
Her district includes South Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Kettering, Largo, Mitchellville and Upper Marlboro.
A federal grand jury indicted Jack Johnson in February on charges including bribery, witness and evidence tampering and aiding and abetting. Johnson was accused of providing money from a federal housing program to a developer and then accepting a payoff of more than $200,000.
After the scandal, Leslie Johnson was stripped of some of her council responsibilities but had maintained her seat.