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Former campaign aide to DC mayor enters plea

Tuesday - 8/13/2013, 1:20pm  ET

Hawkins paid person to leave town

WTOP's Nick Iannelli reports


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A former campaign aide to District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray has pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents investigating campaign finance violations.

Vernon Hawkins, a volunteer adviser on Gray's 2010 mayoral campaign, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to a single count of making a false statement.

In court, Hawkins acknowledged that he gave an unidentified catering company owner money to go out of town so that the person would not be available to meet with authorities conducting an investigation into the Gray campaign. Hawkins later lied during a conversation with the FBI, saying he never asked anyone to leave town.

Hawkins faces up to 5 years in prison, but sentencing guidelines recommend between zero and 16 months in prison. Hawkins will return to court Nov. 12.

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