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Prosecutors want six-day sentence for ex-council chair

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Photo - Former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (Examiner file photo)
Former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (Examiner file photo)
Local,DC,Crime,Scott McCabe,Liz Farmer

Federal prosecutors are seeking a sentence of six days in jail -- to be served on the weekends -- for the felony conviction of former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown.

Brown pleaded guilty in June to felony bank fraud and acknowledged that he had falsified documents to secure a pair of loans totaling $350,000. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 13.

Prosecutors, who note Brown's cooperation with an ongoing investigation into corruption inside the D.C. government, are also asking for three years of probation.

"The defendant has paid a heavy price for his crime, as he should," said the sentencing memo filed in federal court Thursday. "He once was one of the most powerful elected officials in the District of Columbia with strong popular support from the community and a bright political future. After sentencing, he will be a convicted felon with no political office and, according to the U.S. Probation Office, he will be unemployed."

Still, some former council colleagues expressed surprise that Brown might serve any time. Though his plea agreement came with a jail sentence recommendation of up to six months, many observers had guessed Brown would avoid any time.

"I imagine it was probably to teach him a bit of a lesson," said Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh, referring to Brown's most recent appearance before U.S. District Judge Richard Leon. At that hearing, Brown's failure to check in consistently with the D.C. Pretrial Services Agency netted him an 11 p.m. curfew, and Leon warned the ex-politician that his behavior didn't look good so close to his sentencing date.

According to prosecutors, Brown used some of his loan to buy a powerboat.

"The defendant did not commit bank fraud to feed his family, pay a medical bill, or give money to the poor," the sentencing memo said. "He did this so he could own a 39-foot, 330-horsepower boat, a luxury few people can afford."

Brown also pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court in June to a misdemeanor campaign finance charge and faces up to six months in jail on that count. That sentencing date is also Nov. 13.

lfarmer@washingtonexaminer.com

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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