Glimpse of future of Gray campaign probe coming Thursday

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder,Vincent Gray

A key figure in D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's 2010 campaign, who acknowledged last year that he destroyed evidence after authorities opened a corruption probe, is due to return to court Thursday for a hearing that could telegraph the future of the investigation.

Thomas Gore, the campaign's assistant treasurer, will appear in U.S. District Court for a status hearing, his third since pleading guilty in May.

Gore's lawyer, Frederick Cooke, is expected to ask Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to set a sentencing date for his client, who agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Cooke did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday, but he told Kollar-Kotelly in December that Gore had done all he could to assist authorities.

"He has provided the cooperation that he can provide," Cooke said.

A federal prosecutor said then that officials needed "more time for both parties to get the maximum benefit from Mr. Gore's cooperation agreement."

But Kollar-Kotelly warned prosecutors that time was running short for them to question Gore and indicated she'd likely schedule sentencing on Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors have not publicly charged anyone in connection with the probe of the Gray campaign in more than eight months, but authorities have said the investigation remains active.

Even if the investigation doesn't result in any new charges, the fallout from the probe is likely to loom over Gray for months, well inside a year before the Democratic primary for mayor.

Another person tied to corruption allegations in the Gray campaign won't return to court until late June for a status hearing, all but guaranteeing her case won't be resolved until the fall, at the earliest.

Gray, who has denied wrongdoing, has not said whether he intends to seek a second term.

Chuck Thies, who has informally advised Gray in the past, said Wednesday that the mayor could potentially move beyond the scandals if prosecutors don't file new charges.

"If there is a serious reminder all of the scandals anytime after summer, those coattails create a feeling that Gray cannot outrun," Thies said. "When his opponents have a story, they're going to use it to beat him, and they're going to compete with each other to beat him harder."

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner