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Wife Of Ex-Prince George's County Executive To Plead Guilty

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) -- The wife of former Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson is scheduled for a plea hearing next week, federal prosecutors said Friday.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Leslie Johnson, a member of the county council, will appear June 30 at a plea hearing in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. Johnson in March had signaled her intent to plead guilty but a plea hearing was indefinitely postponed without explanation.

Her attorneys did not return calls seeking comment Friday, and prosecutors said they would have no additional comment.

Johnson was arrested last November after the FBI recorded a conversation in which they said her husband directed her to flush down the toilet an illicit $100,000 check from a developer and to stash cash in her undergarments. The conversation was recorded as federal agents investigating corruption in county government arrived at the couple's home in Mitchelville.

"Whatta you want me to do with the check? You hear `em banging?" Leslie Johnson can be heard asking, according to court documents.

"Tear up the check....Just tear it up," he replied.

Leslie Johnson was charged with conspiracy to commit evidence and witness tampering.

Jack Johnson pleaded guilty last month to shaking down developers for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and other favors in exchange for doing business with the county. His plea was part of an ongoing, wide-ranging federal public corruption probe that has already ensnared developers and liquor store owners.

Jack Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced in September. Federal sentencing guidelines call for him to receive between 11 and 13 years, though the judge is not required to sentence him within that range.

Leslie Johnson would have to step down from the council if she pleads guilty to a felony charge. She was elected to the council in November.

The plea hearing was first reported by WTOP.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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