Council chief heats up under spotlight of federal probe

Local,DC,Liz Farmer

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown shoved a reporter Tuesday while being pursued and questioned about the federal probe into his campaign -- a signal that patience has all but disappeared amid talk at the John A. Wilson Building that prosecutors are close to making their move.

The incident occurred after Brown showed up 90 minutes late to run the monthly council breakfast typically held before the members' legislative meeting, and the chairman didn't offer an explanation for the absence.

As Brown walked from his office to the council's chambers, three reporters asked whether he had any comment about a Twitter report that federal prosecutors have privately outlined their case against him. Brown refused to answer, and when WTOP's Mark Segraves persisted, Brown turned and shoved him away.

Brown later apologized to Segraves.

The behavior comes as the buzz over the federal investigation into Brown's 2008 re-election campaign is consuming the Wilson Building, as many there believe that action by prosecutors is imminent.

Several online postings have hinted at things soon to come, while one tweet from WUSA's Bruce Johnson went so far as to say prosecutors had met with Brown to outline their case.

Brown's office declined to comment to The Washington Examiner for this story. But when confronted by reporters after the council session Tuesday, he denied reports that prosecutors would move on his case on Wednesday and said he was sorry to city residents that the investigation had created a distraction.

"I have no plans to resign," he said. "That's all I'm going to say about that."

Brown's attorney, Fred Cooke, did not respond to requests for comment regarding the report.

Tuesday's dustup is the second sign in the past week that Brown's patience is wearing thin. Last week, his office blasted the Washington City Paper for reporting his wife had been sued for $15,000 in outstanding credit card debt, marking the fourth time in less than three years that the family had been sued for nonpayment.

Additionally, Brown abruptly canceled his monthly media briefing Monday, later saying that he did so because he was celebrating his wedding anniversary. The council chief has also been less than forthcoming with his colleagues. He issued a notice Monday that he planned to amend council committee assignments, but gave no indication about what those changes would be.

Examiner Staff Writer Alan Blinder contributed to this report

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