Judge sets sentencing date for former Vincent Gray aide

Local,DC,Vincent Gray,April Burbank

A federal judge on Thursday set a sentencing date for the assistant treasurer of D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's 2010 campaign, 10 months after Thomas Gore pleaded guilty to his role in an attempted cover-up of a political corruption scheme.

Gore, who acknowledged in May that he helped arrange secret payments to minor mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown and then destroyed records of those payments as federal investigators opened a probe, will be sentenced July 26.

He pleaded guilty to obstructing the federal investigation, along with three violations of D.C. law.

U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly scheduled Gore's sentencing after his lawyer, Frederick Cooke, said Gore was "having difficulty securing employment" because of uncertainty about how much prison time his sentence could include.

In December, Cooke sparred with a federal prosecutor about Gore's sentencing date because the government said it needed more time for Gore to assist in the investigation of Gray's campaign, which he agreed to do as a part of his plea deal.

But on Thursday, prosecutors did not object to scheduling his sentencing, though they did not elaborate on the status of the federal investigation, which has been ongoing since March 2011.

Joe diGenova, a former U.S. attorney for the District, said he expects the broader investigation into Gray's campaign to continue as authorities untangle a web of contributions from Jeffrey Thompson, who is believed to have financed an illegal "shadow campaign" to help elect Gray.

"This is going to be a long, drawn-out process," diGenova said.

Thompson, a longtime city contractor, has not been charged.

But political consultant Chuck Thies, who served as an informal adviser to Gray, said the setting of Gore's sentencing date might indicate that investigators are almost ready to move on from the segment of the probe focused on the payments to Brown.

"It would be my guess that that aspect of the investigation is drawing to a close," Thies said.

But Thies said he expected the ongoing probe into Thompson's activities would continue and color the 2014 mayoral campaign.

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

"Gray will be held to a higher standard than any campaign in the history of D.C. -- but so will his opponents," Thies said.

Gore is one of three former Gray campaign aides to have pleaded guilty in the ongoing investigation.

Howard Brooks, a campaign consultant, pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators and was sentenced to probation last October.

And former communications consultant Jeanne Clarke Harris pleaded guilty in July to charges related to the shadow campaign. She's next scheduled to appear in court in June.

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