An aide to Mayor Catherine Pugh was found guilty Tuesday to two counts of making illegal contributions to the mayor’s campaign.
Gary Brown Jr., who also was a former legislative aide to Pugh, was sentenced to probation before judgement and placed on one year of supervised probation by Baltimore City Circuit Judge Charles J. Peters, according to a statement issued by the Office of the State Prosecutor.
“Election laws are in place to maintain the integrity of the electoral process and foster transparency in the regulation of campaign contributions,” State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt. “Illegal straw contributions in names other than one’s own to evade such laws cannot be tolerated.”
Brown was about to be sworn in as a state delegate days before the start of the 2017 session, filling a vacancy created when then-Del. Barbara Robinson was appointed to fill Pugh’s vacant Senate seat, when the state prosecutor charged him depositing about $18,000 in cash into the bank accounts of his mother, stepfather and brother between January and April 2016.
The maximum contribution allowed by an individual under Maryland law is $6,000 per four-year election cycle.
Prosecutors said in a statement of facts that Desiree Johnson, Samuel Johnson and Danny Brown deposited cash into their respective bank accounts to cover each contribution. Each person then wrote a check or transferred money to Pugh’s campaign using a check card.
Desiree Johnson and Samuel Johnson are Gary Brown Jr.’s mother and step-father respectively. Danny Brown is the brother of Gary Brown Jr. All three admitted to the transactions. Prosecutors said the three would also testify that they gave their respective bank account information to Gary Brown and that the money paid to Pugh’s campaign was not theirs.
The charges delayed Brown’s swearing in and ultimately resulted in his appointment being rescinded. Former Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby was later appointed to fill the vacancy.