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Pr. George's exec. not satisfied with Johnson resignation

Tuesday - 7/5/2011, 3:25pm  ET

Five days ago Leslie Johnson pleaded guilty to destroying evidence in a federal corruption probe. (WTOP Photo/Kate Ryan)

Johnson's resignation on Prince George's County

WTOP Political Analyst Mark Plotkin


WASHINGTON - The chief executive for Prince George's County says Councilmember Leslie Johnson's planned resignation at the end of the month is not soon enough, sources tell WTOP.

Rushern Baker has asked Johnson to vacate her District 6 seat on the council immediately, according to sources close to the county executive who spoke with WTOP Political Analyst Mark Plotkin.

The process to replace a council seat has to start 90 days after a vacancy, and requires both a primary and general election, Plotkin says, adding Baker is intent on making sure the residents who live in District 6 have a representative.

"Rushern Baker is not letting a decent interval pass," says Plotkin. "He wants Councilmember Johnson out and out now."

It's unclear whether Johnson will comply with this newest demand, after ceding to four of her council colleagues who called for her initial resignation.

"I think that family needs the income stream," says Plotkin of Johnson, and her husband, former County Executive Jack Johnson who has also pleaded guilty to charges.

Listen to the full audio of Plotkin's interview at right for more on how Johnson's resignation will influence politics in the county.

Leslie Johnson submitted her resignation Tuesday morning, effective July 31, the last day before the council's August recess, her attorney tells WTOP.

"My resignation is important for the constituents of District 6, so that the district can be in the best position to move forward," she said, according to a written statement provided by her attorney, Shawn M. Wright.

"I, again, apologize for my mistake," she wrote.

Here is Johnson's complete statement:

"After careful thought and consideration, I tendered my resignation this morning as a member of the Prince George's County Council for District 6, effective July 31, 2011, the last day before August recess. My resignation is important for the constituents of District 6, so that the district can be in the best position to continue move forward. I again apologize for my mistake. I am deeply honored to have had the opportunity to serve the residents of District 6."

Johnson handed her resignation letter to Council Chair Ingrid Turner Tuesday morning. Tuesday is the first day the County Council will meet since Johnson pleaded guilty last Thursday in federal court in Maryland to conspiracy to commit evidence and witness tampering.

Her job on the County Council pays more than $96,000 a year. The district she represents includes Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Kettering, Largo, Mitchellville and Upper Marlboro.

Johnson admitted she destroyed a $100,000 check from a developer to her husband, former County Executive Jack Johnson, and stuffed nearly $80,000 in illicit cash into her bra.

Johnson is set to be sentenced Oct.13.

Jack Johnson also pleaded guilty to corruption charges and faces more than a decade in prison.

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WTOP's Paul D. Shinkman contributed to this story. Follow Paul D. Shinkman and WTOP on Twitter.

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