Attorney General Eric Holder defends timing of Gray campaign investigation

(WJLA) - For the first time, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is weighing in on the investigation into the 2010 shadow campaign to elect Mayor Vincent Gray.

Both Gray and Holder attended and spoke at an event honoring Ethel Kennedy on Wednesday afternoon. A bridge in Northeast D.C. has been named for the longtime environmentalist and civil rights activist.

When asked if he is content with the timeline of the federal investigation, Holder said, “The U.S. Attorney is handling that, I think, pretty well.”

As head of the Department of Justice, Holder has overseen the years-long probe into the 2010 shadow campaign.

Before the ceremony, Gray greeted Holder with a handshake. Gray also introduced Holder during the ceremony and stood just a few feet behind him during his remarks.

Many in attendance noted the awkwardness of the situation.

In March, businessman Jeffrey Thompson pleaded guilty to illegally financing off-the-books campaigns for Gray and some other D.C. Council candidates.

Part of his plea agreement, Thompson implicated Mayor Gray as an alleged co-conspirator in violating campaign laws.

However, Mayor Gray has not been charged with a crime and he has repeatedly denied any wrong-doing or prior knowledge of the shadow campaign.

In April, Gray lost his re-election bid in the District's Democratic primary election. He was defeated by Ward 4 Council member Muriel Bowser.

Now, more than ten weeks since U.S. Attorney Ron Machen announced Thompson's plea agreement, it is still unclear when – or if – Gray himself will be indicted.

Close associates of the mayor have criticized the U.S. Attorney’s office for the timing of the Thompson plea deal and his allegations against Gray. Machen held a press conference announcing the deal three weeks before the primary election.

If a Gray indictment is coming, those close to the mayor have questioned why it has not already happened.