JUNE 22, 2011
The acclaimed lawyer who assured the nation of Bill Clinton’s veracity during two sex scandals is doing the same for Washington D.C.’s crooked mayor, who may be on the verge of getting criminally charged in a corruption scheme.A federal grand jury is hearing evidence into accusations that D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, a veteran councilman, may have paid a mayoral candidate to stay in the race and trash then-Mayor Adrian Fenty. Gray, who has previously made headlines for his unscrupulous acts as a D.C. politician, replaced Fenty this year.Federal authorities began investigating Gray after a disgruntled staffer exposed a seedy cash-for-campaigning scheme, according to a local newspaper that cites attorneys and law enforcement sources associated with the case. The fired employee (Sulaimon Brown) says members of Gray’s mayoral campaign gave him envelopes stuffed with cash and money orders to stay in the race and maintain a verbal assault on Fenty.This sort of behavior would not be surprising for Gray, who has been embroiled in a variety of scandals throughout his career. As D.C. Council chair in 2009, Gray got busted for illegally using official stationery to solicit donations for the Democratic Party and for secretly having a city contractor renovate his house.After becoming mayor in January Gray came under fire for hiring an army of senior staffers with lucrative salaries while the city suffered through a painful $400 million budget shortfall. Among Gray’s highly-paid employees are the son of his chief of staff and the daughter of a close adviser.This sort of thing is commonplace in a local government that has mastered the art of making national headlines for the many transgressions of its elected leaders. Who could forget Mayor Marion Barry—elected to the D.C. Council four times since his drug conviction—starring in an FBI surveillance video smoking crack?Barry, who represents Ward 8, has since been in trouble for failing to pay his taxes, violating the terms of his probation and stalking a former girlfriend. A veteran of these sorts of scandals, Gray has lined up one of the area’s top attorney’s (Robert Bennett) to defend him legally and in the media.Bennett did the same for Clinton during the Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky sex scandals, assuring the nation of the then commander-in-chief’s innocence and candor. Bennett guarantees that he has “investigated” the Gray case “thoroughly” and “there is absolutely no merit” to any of the accusations made against him. Sound familiar?
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