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After Thomas Gore's Guilty Plea, More Charges?

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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray addresses the D.C. Council in January. Gray's 2010 mayoral campaign has come under fire for violations, and his former assistant campaign treasurer pleaded guilty to fraud this week.
Patrick Madden
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray addresses the D.C. Council in January. Gray's 2010 mayoral campaign has come under fire for violations, and his former assistant campaign treasurer pleaded guilty to fraud this week.

This week's guilty plea from Thomas Gore marked the first criminal charges resulting from a long-term federal investigation into D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's mayoral campaign, and the details released during yesterday's court hearing have many observers wondering who will be next. 

Gore, D.C. Gray's 2010 assistant campaign treasurer, is facing 12 to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance fraud and destroying evidence. The former campaign aide admitted to to making straw donations to mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown's campaign and then destroying evidence of the payments.

Wearing a straw hat and a dark suit, Gore stared straight ahead as he walked past reporters to a green sedan following yesterday's hearing. But Gore's attorney, Fred Cooke — who has made a career of representing D.C. politicians — intimated that he thinks his client won't be the last.

"I believe the government will charge additional people," Cooke said. "Whether I represent them, I don't know."

Inside the courthouse earlier in the day, Gore had confirmed what former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown has long claimed: that the fringe mayoral candidate was given money orders by Gray campaign officials to keep up the verbal assault on then mayor Adrian Fenty. 

Gore admitted as part of the plea that he used, "excess or unattributed campaign funds" to purchase money orders for Brown. Gore worked with another campaign aide, whom campaign finance reports and other records indicate was Howard Brooks, to fill other people's names on the money orders -- in this case, close relatives of Brooks. 

Gore also acknowledged he destroyed a spiral notebook containing records of the payments to Brown after reading a Washington Post article detailing Brown's allegations, and later lied to FBI agents about the notebook. At one point during the hearing, Gore hinted that Brooks had worn a wiretap for federal authorities during the investigation.

"In 2010, the voters of the District of Columbia were deceived," U.S. Attorney Ron Machen said in a statement released after the hearing. "Envelopes stuffed with fraudulent money orders prevented the public from knowing that one mayoral campaign was secretly financing the campaign of an opposing candidate." 

No sentencing date has been scheduled.

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