LL will be updating with what’s in the nearly 1,000 pages of court files related to the federal investigation into Vince Gray and Jeff Thompson (read them here).
Vince Gray‘s “Close Relative”
Maybe the most intriguing development to come out of shadow campaign operative Vernon Hawkins‘ sentencing fight with prosecutors is the identity of the male “close relative” of Gray’s identified as taking $10,000 through a Thompson cut-out to pay Howard University students who worked on the campaign.
In today’s files, a heavily redacted portion of the file describing the Howard incident describes one unnamed person as some other figure’s “son.”
Feds Wanted Cell Data for Thompson, Long, Harris
Last year, investigators filed multiple search warrants for cell phone location data for phones belonging to Thompson, Thompson associate Eugenia Clarke Harris, Gray campaign driver Mark Long, and an unnamed fourth person described as the campaign’s security director.
The goal, according to one application, was to see whether Gray had been around the following incidents and thus had been exposed to the shadow campaign:
The meetings explained, in order:
June 7, 2010 at La Perla: According to documents, Thompson was approached by a person resembling Gray at the D.C. Democratic party’s dinner. Later, Thompson and Gray allegedly met at La Perla restaurant, where investigators claim they first discussed using the “Uncle Earl” nickname for Thompson.
Check pick-ups: Long received $100,000 in contributions from Thompson on the last day of an Office of Campaign Finance reporting deadline. This appears to be the same money discussed in the section below, where Gray campaign workers discuss someone “washing money.”
August 16, 2010 in Mitchellville, Md.: This is the alleged meeting between Gray and third-place mayoral candidate Leo Alexander. See the “Paying Off Leo Alexander” below section for more.
August 20, 2010 meeting at Harris’ apartment: Harris and Alexander meet to discuss how to get him out of the race.
Sept. 3, 2010 meeting at Harris’ apartment: This is the much-discussed meeting at Harris’ apartment between Thompson, Harris, and allegedly Gray, where they purportedly planned get-out-of-the-vote efforts for the campaign. This meeting figured prominently in Thompson’s guilty plea.
Sept. 10, 2010 at campaign office: This refers to recent revelations in Hawkins’ sentencing memos, in which prosecutors discuss irate shadow campaign workers rallying at Gray’s headquarters only to be provided with money and pizza.
November 2010 payoff: A reference to Long providing a union official with a package after the election.
Investigators Searched Campaign Email Accounts
Gray’s email account (see below) wasn’t the only one investigators searched. They also filed a search warrant for several email accounts related to a Google email setup the campaign used.
The search warrant includes several interesting details, including this profane conversation about badges for Hawkins’ shadow campaign workers:
And an interesting exchange in which campaign workers suggest that someone was “washing money“:
Gray Staffers Ignored Shadow Campaign
Staffers on the legitimate campaign are described as suspecting that shadow campaign operative Hawkins was up to something, but they didn’t want to know about it. “I’m not in the loop (and don’t want to be)!” writes one.
Paying Off Leo Alexander
The Gray campaign’s alleged efforts to convince third-place mayoral candidate Leo Alexnader to leave the race have already been made public, but a new email from Alexander sheds light on the horse-trading behind the failed effort.
Alexander confirms to LL that he wrote this email. In it, Alexander relates a conversation he claims to have had with Gray in which Gray offered him support to replace the at-large D.C. Council seat expected to be vacated by Kwame Brown (that was eventually filled by Sekou Biddle).
In a humorous exchange, Alexander is unhappy to find out that the deputy mayorship offered him by the Gray campaign is instead for the less prestigious Office of Cable Television.
Elsewhere in the files, a person resembling Gray is described as taking part in a conversation to pay Alexander $20,000 to leave the race. Harris’ company ultimately received the $20,000 from Gray’s campaign, but returned it after Alexander refused the money.
“I just want him out,” Gray allegedly said.
Another search warrant includes descriptions of a lot of people described as involved in either the legitimate campaign or the shadow campaign. Their names are blacked out, but many of them are described below:
Vince Gray‘s Ward 7 Treasurer Reacts
Feds Searched Gray’s Email Account
There’s a lot going in this search warrant, where investigators ask for and receive access to Gray’s Yahoo email account. A person who appears to be Gray discusses the difference between the campaign’s legitimate shirts and ones funded by the shadow campaign:
While Thompson crony Harris meets with someone who appears to be Gray, so concerned that she’ll be recorded that she writes out a note:
One more detail: Harris claims that Thompson paid for the awnings on one of Gray’s campaign offices.
Harris Had a Storage Unit Full of Secrets
So far, most of the descriptions of seized items aren’t that incriminating. But then there’s Harris’ storage unit full of campaign literature for campaign driver Mark Long, who ran a Thompson-backed at-large campaign in 2008. Long plead guilty in 2014 for his own role in Thompson’s schemes and is now facing five years in prison.
Thompson Knew About Investigation Before Raid
The feds appear to have access to someone who functioned as Thompson’s assistant. Ahead of the 2012 raids on Thompson’s home and office, this witness told the feds that Thompson and associate Eugenia Clarke Harris were destroying files because they knew about the investigation. Harris is described as “bleaching” her computer, while rigorous shredding happens in Thompson’s office.
At one point, Thompson tries to convince the witness to leave the country.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery