Federal prosecutors in Prince George’s Counnty (PG County) hope to get all their money that is owed by the county’s former First Lady before she heads to prison.
According to court records, the former PG County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson has been court ordered to pay a $15,000, and prosecutors say she has $17,000 in the bank.
Prosecutors say they see nothing wrong with this request because they did the same to her husband, former PG County Executive Jack Johnson. Plus, U.S. attorney’s office has said that the Johnson’s monthly household income is $9,395, which includes a $3,000 pension and $1,600 in Social Security income benefits for incarcerated Jack Johnson, a $3,295 pension for Leslie Johnson, and $1,500 in rental income.
Federal prosecutors tried to get Jack Johnson to pay his $100,000 fine before he went to prison but the motion was denied, although the original order for him to pay $30,000 of the fine before going to prison was upheld.
“The defendant has over $170,000 in liquid assets available for her use,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen F. Loucks in court records, referring to Leslie Johnson. “Even if one took into account and added in the purported $55,000 legal fees … it is apparent that the defendant has the wherewithal to pay the $15,000 fine now.”
The 60 year old Leslie Johnson is set to report to prison March 9.
“I think they should leave her alone,” said Prince George’s County resident David Agnew. “They’ve already ran her name through the mud, now they want to break her financially too.”
Her attorneys have mentioned that she owes over $55,000 in legal fees, in addition to an estimated $54,622 she needs to pay all her bills while she’s serving her sentence. While she’s locked up, her family will need the meger amount to live while she and her husband are away.
Prosecutors might have a difficult time with their request because U.S. District Court Judge Peter J. Messitte ruled in January that Johnson could defer paying $5,000 of the fine until released from prison, but the remaining $10,000 must be paid in monthly $500 payments.
Also, Johnson’s attorney Shawn Wright says her monthly expenses are expected to reach $4,551 (car insurance, mortgage payments, health insurance, and financial support for her elderly mother and disabled sister).
Laurel resident Tony Smith said, “She should have to pay every dine she owes.”
The Johnsons was arrested as part of a widespread federal corruption probe just shortly after Leslie Johnson was elected to the Prince George’s County Council. Both eventually pleaded guilty for their illegal actions, most notably Jack Johnson accepting a bribe and directing Leslie Johnson to flush a $100,000 check down the toilet and hide nearly $80,000 in cash in her underwear (which she attempted to do).