Jack Johnson pleads guilty, Laurel doctor named in related case.
Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson pleaded guilty May 17 in U.S. District Court, in Greenbelt, to witness and evidence tampering charges, and to being involved in an extortion conspiracy relating to his official duties as the county’s top official.
Johnson is facing up to 20 years on each count plus fines.
After Johnson’s hearing, the court unsealed records of several cases related to the former county executive’s corruption case, including that of Burtonsville resident Mirza Hussain Baig, 67, a physician and president of Laurel Lakes Primary Care; and owner of Laurel Ventures, a commercial residential development company that has operated in Prince George’s County since 1992.
According to the unsealed documents, Baig pleaded guilty on April 11 to conspiracy to commit extortion in connection with paying more than $120,000 in bribes to Jack Johnson and James Johnson — the county’s former housing director — for assistance on Baig’s housing projects in the county.
In court documents, Baig is named as the previously unnamed developer who provided Jack Johnson with a post-dated check for $100,000. Wire taps recorded Johnson and his wife, Leslie Johnson, deciding by phone to tear up the check and flush it down the toilet as FBI agents knocked on the door of their home the day they were arrested.
In November, Johnson and his wife, who is now a Prince George’s County Council member, were arrested at the couple’s Mitchellville home and charged with a slew of federal criminal charges, which the county executive said he was not guilty of and vowed to fight at the time of his arrest.
The charges involved the Johnson’s alleged involvement in a pay-to-play scheme in which developers provided money, gifts and other valuables, including campaign contributions, in return for the county executive’s assistance on development projects. At the time of her arrest, Leslie had nearly $80,000 in her bra.
“While Jack Johnson’s guilty plea today shines a bright light on the crimes he and his associates committed, it is not the end of the FBI’s investigation into corruption in Prince George’s County,” said Richard McFeely, the FBI special agent in charge.
In August of last year alone, federal officials said, Baig gave Johnson more than $70,000 in incremental payments. It was also in Baig’s Laurel office that FBI agents witnessed and recorded the former county executive accepting a check for $15,000 from Baig on the day of his arrest.
In addition, according to court documents, Baig sought Johnson’s assistance in securing $1.7 million in federal funds for a low-income housing project he was working on in the county.
“I’ll have Leslie to, ah, take care of things for you,” Johnson was recorded saying in reference to his wife.
Jack Johnson was also taped saying he would ask Baig for $500,000 for his assistance on that project. Court documents also revealed that Baig agreed to pay Johnson $50,000 for successfully getting a female physician hired at the county hospital.
Baig could face a maximum of five years in prison plus fines, and Leslie Johnson’s case is still pending.