A top official in D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's 2010 campaign for mayor pleaded guilty Tuesday to destroying evidence and making illegal campaign contributions, just one day after federal authorities charged him in connection with the long-running scandal.
As a part of an agreement with federal prosecutors, Thomas Gore, the assistant treasurer of the Gray campaign, pleaded guilty at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.
Gore, through his attorney, declined to comment.
The acknowledgment of guilt came about 24 hours after prosecutors filed charges against Gore and alleged that he destroyed "a spiral notebook containing a record of payments to Candidate B" by the Gray campaign, prompting a federal obstruction of justice charge.
Although prosecutors did not identify "Candidate B" by name in the filing, the court acknowledged that the person was Sulaimon Brown. Brown was a minor mayoral candidate who claimed in 2011 that the Gray campaign had paid him and promised him a government job in exchange for him criticizing Adrian Fenty, the mayor at the time and Gray's top rival.
Brown's allegations, which he leveled after he was fired from a lucrative job at the city's Department of Health Care Finance, prompted the federal probe of the Gray campaign.
Gore also pleaded guilty to assisting in making contributions to Brown's campaign in the names of others, three misdemeanor violations of District law. The donations, made with money orders, totaled more than $600.
Gore will return to court on Aug. 29 for a status hearing. Under his plea agreement with prosecutors, the government agreed to seek a sentence of 12 to 18 months in prison on the felony obstruction of justice count. Each of the misdemeanor counts is punishable by up to six months behind bars.
Kotelly, though, has wide latitude in imposing a sentence, and she could choose to ignore the agreement. Under federal and District law, the four counts against Gore carry a maximum sentence of up to 21 1/2 years.