A chapter in Prince George’s County tale of corruption came to a close Friday when former county councilwoman Leslie Johnson was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison.
She will be eligible for release after 10 months.
U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte also ordered Johnson to perform 240 hours of community service and pay a $15,000 fine.
She was sentenced a week after her husband, former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson, was sentenced to more than seven years for corruption.
In court, she stood front and center and asked for mercy. She told the court she is ashamed of what she did, that it was a one time lapse of judgment and that she was so busy being a working mother she had no idea her husband was raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars extorted from developers.
It was the first time she has spoken publicly about what happened the day she and Jack Johnson were arrested.
Pointing to the video and audio evidence to the contrary, the judge said Leslie Johnson had to know about the dirty money jack was collecting.
"You are not an innocent spouse," he said.
Leslie Johnson has admitted to flushing down the toilet an illicit $100,000 bribe check as FBI agents arrived at the couple's home. She also stuffed nearly $80,000 in her underwear.
She was elected to the county council just before her arrest in November 2010 and stepped down in July after pleading guilty to destroying evidence.
"People who hold public office have a duty to serve with integrity," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "Government officials must always keep in mind that their job is to pursue the public interest and not personal profit."
In a now infamous wiretap audio recording of Johnson and his wife Leslie Johnson, the couple can be heard talking about hiding cash as federal authorities are about to search their home in November 2010.
"Put it in your bra and walk out or something, I don't know what to do," Jack Johnson told his wife.
Agents who eventually searched Leslie Johnson recovered $79,600 from her underwear. The FBI was using court-approved wire taps to record the conversation.
Her many supporters in court today say it rings true.
“She's a very nice person,” says Al Hilliard. “I'm a member of her church. She's a very spiritual person.”