In an interview with local television station WUSA on Monday, Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray denied that he knew anything about more than $566,000 in illegal donations made to his 2010 campaign by D.C. businessman Jeffrey Thompson. Earlier on Monday, Thompson pleaded guilty to two felony charges in federal court.
Gray acknowledged to WUSA’s Bruce Johnson that he referred to Thompson as “Uncle Earl,” as Thompson claimed, but denied Thompson’s allegations that he “laid out a budget” for illegal campaign contributions, which Thompson delivered, in his successful 2010 mayoral run.
“Those are lies, Bruce,” Gray said. “The Uncle Earl part is the only part of that that’s true and he asked me when he started raising money for my campaign, which I’ve acknowledged that, he said ‘please refer to me as Uncle Earl because I don’t want to be the recipient of retribution from the opponents’ campaign, so don’t call me by name, call me Uncle Earl.”
On Tuesday night, Mayor Gray once again denied Thompson’s allegations in his “State of the District” address.
Gray, who faces a Democratic primary in three weeks, “receiv[ed] a partial standing ovation from a crowd of a few hundred supporters in a middle school auditorium” last night, according to NBC Washington.
Gray told the crowd “I didn’t break the law” and that his record is “clean and unblemished.” He then pointed the finger at his accuser, Jeffrey Thompson, who is now a convicted felon who has cut a deal with federal prosecutors.
“So I ask you, who do you believe? A greedy man attempting to save himself, or me, a public servant, who has dedicated my entire career and my entire life to giving back to our communities in the District of Columbia?”
Despite Mayor Gray’s denials, former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova predicted on Monday that current District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Ron Machen will soon indict him. Either that, diGenova says, or Mayor Gray will plead guilty to violating election laws.
Image source: WUSA