WASHINGTON — A former campaign aide to District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray who admitted making secret payments to another candidate is scheduled to be sentenced in July.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on Thursday set a July 26 sentencing date for Thomas W. Gore, one of three former Gray campaign aides to plead guilty to a felony charge.
Gore admitted in May that he paid a minor candidate in the 2010 race, Sulaimon Brown, to make negative comments about then-mayor Adrian Fenty and then destroyed a notebook containing evidence of the transactions.
The judge scheduled the hearing after Gore’s lawyer, Frederick Cooke, requested a firm date, saying uncertainty over the length of sentence was making it hard for his client to move forward with his life. Prosecutors had previously been reluctant to agree to a sentencing date because Gore has been cooperating in an ongoing investigation.
“He’s had difficulty securing employment, meeting life expenses, because he doesn’t know what the court’s sentence will be,” Cooke said, adding, “He needs some closure.”
Gore faces up to a year and a half in prison under federal guidelines, but cooperation could earn him a reduced sentence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Chubin Epstein raised no objection Thursday to proceeding to sentencing, but said her office was not making any promises about whether it would seek a lesser sentence for Gore because of his cooperation.
Gore has admitted that he conspired to convert excessive or unattributed cash contributions into money orders that were given to Brown.
The payments were intended to keep Brown in the race so that he could continue assailing Fenty with negative attacks as the incumbent sought re-election. Brown has maintained that he was paid by Gray’s campaign and promised a job in the Gray administration in exchange for his harsh rhetoric about Fenty. Gray has denied knowledge of the payments and has not been charged.
Another campaign aide, Howard Brooks, has admitted lying to the FBI about the payments. A third defendant, campaign consultant Eugenia “Jeanne” Clarke Harris, later admitted her role in off-the-books payments totaling $650,000 to help Gray win the election.
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