Judge: Naming Alleged Thompson Recipients Could Affect Grand Jury
A federal judge ruled that naming alleged recipients of shadow campaign mastermind Jeff Thompson's illicit help besides Mayor Vince Gray could jeopardize a grand jury investigation, according to a court order unsealed today.
In the March 10 court order made ahead of Thompson's plea hearing the same day, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that Gray, once identified just as "Candidate A," had to be named in court by lawyers from U.S. Attorney Ron Machen's office because the details of how Thompson helped his 2010 mayoral campaign were "necessary" and "material" to Thompson's plea. Kollar-Kotelly ruled that naming Gray wouldn't affect what she describes as "the grand jury investigation of Mr. Gray," in part because Machen's office had already acknowledged that it was investigating Gray.
On the other hand, Kollar-Kotelly ordered that five other alleged shadow campaign recipients—including one whose description matches that of At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange, who has said he's innocent–could be identified only by pseudonyms. While she called them "integral" to Thompson's conspiracy charges, Kollar-Kotelly decided that naming them could interfere with the grand jury investigation.
“Nevertheless, as these individuals have not been publicly identified as under investigation or otherwise part of the investigation, the Court finds that the use of pseudonyms to identify these individuals is appropriate as their disclosure could hinder the ongoing grand jury investigation," Kollar-Kotelly writes.
One of the candidates—unsuccessful Ward 6 Council candidate Kelvin Robinson—has been charged since Kollar-Kotelly made her order.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery