D.C.

Vernon Hawkins to plead guilty to making false statements

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - A top aide to Mayor Vincent Gray plans to plead guilty to one count of making a false statement about the ongoing probe into Gray's campaign finances, according to a document filed Monday in a U.S. District Court. Court records show Vernon Hawkins intends to plead guilty during a hearing Tuesday.

According to a criminal information obtained and posted by the Washington Post, Vernon Hawkins is accused to having lied to federal investigators about his role in obstruction the investigation into the finances behind Gray's 2010 run for mayor. He allegedly hid a witness from authorities.

A criminal information usually indicates that a person is about to plead guilty.

"You hate to see this happen. I look forward to learning more about the details,” Mayor Gray said. “And again, there not much more I can tell you. I hate to see something like this happen."

Court papers allege Hawkins tried to hide a witness from the FBI and that he got money from gray supporter Eugenia Harris, who's since pleaded guilty, and that Hawkins gave money to "person one," who is identified as Lamont Mitchell by sources.

The money, authorities alleged, was to persuade Mitchell to leave the area for an extended period so he couldn’t speak with investigators.

Authorities say Lamont Mitchell, who owns catering business, ran the off-the-books transportation effort for Gray financed by businessman Jeffrey Thompson.

Thompson is also suspected of funneling $650,000 in illegal funds into District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray's 2010 campaign. He has not been charged with a crime.

Ward 8 activist Phillip Pannell , who worked in Anacostia with both Hawkins and Mitchell on get-out-the-vote efforts for Gray, says he never knew about the shadow campaign. He also says this is tough lesson for political activists.

"You don’t do anything to compromise you value and particularly do anything that will get you in trouble,” Pannell says. “It is not worth it."

 

 

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