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P.G. County Council Cuts Off Leslie Johnson

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Leslie Johnson was not present in her usual seat when the Prince George's County Council voted to remove her office of all its staff and resources July 5.
Armando Trull
Leslie Johnson was not present in her usual seat when the Prince George's County Council voted to remove her office of all its staff and resources July 5.

If Leslie Johnson shows up to work today, she'll have little to do and even less to do it with. Council Chair Ingrid Turner said the council has taken away Johnson’s staff, budget, and privileges.

“...Included but not limited to the use of a county car, county council parking, cell phone usage, grant expenditures, and discretionary funding," Turner said as she outlined the measure pertaining to Johnson that the council passed in closed session Tuesday.

Johnson pleaded guilty June 30 to flushing a $100,000 check down the toilet and stuffing almost eighty thousand dollars in her bra in an attempt to hide evidence from FBI agents in an investigation into corruption involving her husband, former Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson.

Activist Jacque Chevalier has been an outspoken critics of the Johnsons since the scandal broke and agrees with the council’s call for Johnson to leave now.

"Because she is still robbing the citizens of good representation and still taking the taxpayer's money," he says.

Johnson didn't speak publicly Tuesday after she tendered her resignation. After last week's guilty plea, however, she apologized to her constituency.

"I only asked not to be defined by this mistake but by the countless days, months and years I have devoted to this community," Johnson said.

But Johnson also implied she would not resign until she was sentenced in October.

"I look forward to continuing to serve and making a positive difference," she said.

County Executive Rushern Baker said Tuesday he had urged Johnson to resign quickly, and she had bowed to public pressure.

"I voiced my opinion to the people of Prince George's County and the residents of District 6 and I think they started voicing theirs," he said.

One of those residents, Henry Turner, was present at Tuesday's meeting, and says it's time for Johnson to exit the political stage and get ready for a possible 12- to 18-month prison sentence.

"She's got to realize this isn't about her anymore," Turner said. "It's about the citizens of Prince George's county."

County officials have begun planning for the special election to replace Johnson.

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