JUNE 26, 2009
The city councilwoman wife of the House Judiciary Committee chairman has pleaded guilty to bribery and could go to jail for up to five years.
Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, wife of the famed Michigan Democrat (John Conyers) who chairs the House committee that oversees the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI, has finally admitted she took bribes from a developer to change her vote on a major city contract.
Last summer the FBI revealed that it had electronic surveillance evidence of Conyers taking the bribes, which only led the prominent Detroit lawmaker to launch an ardent innocence campaign. Prosecutors say the councilwoman was paid thousands of dollars to switch her vote on a multi million-dollar contract to haul and treat the city’s sewage sludge.
The cash was delivered in fast-food parking lots but Conyers insisted for months that she did nothing wrong and reminded the public of America’s cherished innocent-until-proven-guilty legal system. But a few days ago the developer pleaded guilty in federal court to paying Conyers more than $6,000 in bribes and admitted using a courier on four separate occasions to the deliver the money.
After a long holdout with federal prosecutors, Conyers finally pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit bribery. The Detroit newspaper that broke the story also links the charging document and plea agreement.
It was just a few days ago that Conyers maintained her innocence during her weekly public access television show. She told her audience that she believed in her heart that God would deliver her from “all these things that are going on right now…” She also told those who were not praying for her that they were “just adding to the problem.”
A few years ago Conyers’ husband the veteran legislator was involved in a scandal of his own when he illegally forced congressional staffers to be personal servants and work on several state and local campaigns. The aides were required to babysit Conyers’ two young boys, chauffeur them to personal events and help his wife with her law school courses.
Incredibly, after a three-year investigation the House Ethics Committee took no action against Conyers, declaring that the lawmaker “accepted responsibility” for a series of House rules violations involving the abuse of his staffers. The ethics committee’s top Republican and Democratic members justified the panel’s inaction by declaring that Conyers acknowledged a “lack of clarity” in communicating what was expected of his official staff.
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