Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson was given two more weeks of freedom after he wasn’t given a placement for a prison facility.

Johnson was originally due to turn himself in to federal authorities on Feb. 3, but was given an extension to Feb. 18 by U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte.

“Undersigned was contacted by Agent Anthony Desjardins from pretrial services and informed that Mr. Johnson had not received placement and recommend that a request for an extension of surrender date be filed,” the motion to extend said. “Mr. Desjardins authorized undersigned to represent to the court that pretrial recommends an extension.

Johnson, due to the high profile and white collar nature of his case, in addition to the health concerns he claimed, requested to serve his term at Butner federal prison in Butner, N.C. Butner, incidentally, is the prison that houses Bernie Madoff, who is serving time for stealing $50 billion as part of an elaborate Ponzi scheme.

In addition to this, Johnson has also requested that a $30,000 payment of his $100,000 fine be deferred to his release. Johnson claims that the financial burden that this case and that of his wife has taken a toll on the family’s finances.

“In light of the financial burdens Mr. Johnson is experiencing as a result of his unemployment, the insurmountable legal fees incurred by him and his wife, Leslie Johnson, in defending their respective cases, and the critical financial planning that Mr. Johnson and his wife are currently engaged in to ensure that their familial and financial responsibilities are met while they each serve their terms of incarceration, Mr. Johnson respectfully requests that this Court defer the $30,000.00 lump sum portion of his criminal fine to 30 days after his release from custody,” his motion states.

Johnson wants to pay the $30,000 with his first monthly installment payment of $2,000.

In December, Johnson was sentenced to more than 7 years in prison after he pled guilty to federal bribery charges. Later that week, his wife was sentenced to one year and one day in prison after she was overheard on surveillance recordings, ripping up and flushing a $100,000 check and hiding $79,600 in her underwear. She is set to turn herself in on March 9.

In a bit of a formality, Johnson was also disbarred by the Maryland Court of Appeals on Jan. 27 meaning the one-time state’s attorney will no longer be allowed to practice law in Maryland.


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO