Gray Aide Jeanne Clarke Harris Charged

Jeanne Clarke Harris Charged

By Tom Sherwood

| Monday, Jul 9, 2012 | Updated 4:35 PM EDT

Federal prosecutors have charged another person in the ongoing criminal investigation into the 2010 campaign of Mayor Vincent Gray.

In a criminal information filed Monday, prosecutors say Eugenia (Jeanne) Clarke Harris conspired to violate D.C. and federal campaign finance laws by disguising tens of thousands of dollars of contributions and reimbursing some donors in violation of those laws. Authorities say Harris also attempted to cover up the contributions after the federal investigation began.

The document said Harris was reimbursed for $44,000 in contributions to Gray, who was identified as "Candidate A," according to the Associated Press.

Harris is expected to appear in federal court to plead guilty to the two charges of conspiracy and one count of making a false statement to investigators. A criminal information is a charging document that typically indicates a defendant intends to plead guilty.

Two of the three charges are felonies.

Harris is a veteran public relations official in the District and has close ties to Gray and to businessman Jeffrey Thompson.

Earlier this year, federal authorities raided Harris’s business operation along with those of Thompson. Thompson and Harris worked closely on tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to candidates in federal and District offices. Thompson has not been charged in the investigation.

But sources say U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen is investigating a wide-ranging alleged scheme by Thompson and others to raise “shadow” campaign donations, including money given to the Gray campaign.

Earlier this year, two Gray campaign aides pleaded guilty to felony charges in connection with a conspiracy to give thousands of dollars to minor mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown in exchange for his public castigation of then-Mayor Adrian Fenty.

Gray had denied wrongdoing but recently has refused to even discuss the cases.

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