Former aide to Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 campaign, Howard Brooks has been sentenced to 2 years probation for lying to federal agents improper campaign finance violations.
Brooks plead guilty in May to one felony charge, where he made false statements to FBI agents about money he helped funnel to the campaign to help run a shadow operation and He made false statements about money paid to former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown, in the form of a series of money orders totaling $2,810 in the summer of 2010.
The judge noted that Brooks has been extremely helpful in the case and granted him probation for his cooperation with federal authorities, although his crime is punishable up to 5 years in prison. Judge Kollar- Kotelly ordered Brooks to complete 200 hours of community service and not work or volunteer with any political campaign unless he receives prior written approval from the U.S. Probation Office.
In a statement to the court, Brooks said, “After 20 months of anguish, pain and embarrassment, I stand before you with a contrite heart. If I could turn back time, I would probably make better choices.”
Prosecutors said Brooks bought three $500 money orders at a 7-Eleven near his home July 30, 2010, and delivered them blank to Brown, who three days later deposited one into his campaign account and cashed the other two.
Brooks is the second former Gray campaign staffer to plead guilty to a federal charge related to illicit campaign payments. Thomas Gore, Gray’s former assistant campaign treasurer also pleaded guilty to shredding a notebook containing records of payments to former mayoral candidate Brown.
Both Brooks and Gore paid Brown to ensure that he continued verbal attacks on then incumbent mayor Adrian Fenty at debates and other mayoral forums during the 2010 Democratic primary campaign. Gore pleaded guilty to one felony count of obstruction of justice and three misdemeanor campaign-finance violations, but has not been sentenced. No sentencing date has been set in Gore’s case.