Former Charlotte, NC Mayor Patrick Cannon Pleads Guilty to Federal Corruption Charges

In this Oct. 29, 2013 file photo, then candidate for Charlotte mayor Patrick Cannon speaks to students at Queens University in Charlotte, N.C. Cannon, now mayor of Charlotte, was arrested Wednesday, March 26, 2014, on public corruption charges.  AP/CHUCK BURTON
In this Oct. 29, 2013 file photo, then candidate for Charlotte mayor Patrick Cannon speaks to students at Queens University in Charlotte, N.C. Cannon, now mayor of Charlotte, was arrested Wednesday, March 26, 2014, on public corruption charges. AP/CHUCK BURTON

Former Charlotte mayor Patrick Cannon did the expected on Tuesday by pleading guilty to federal charges of corruption.

He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine.

A four-year investigation, which involved undercover agents posing as businessmen with interests in Charlotte, found that Cannon, 47, schemed to defraud the public by accepting bribes of cash and other gifts in exchange for use of his influence as an elected official.

A federal criminal bill of information charging the former mayor with one count of honest services wire fraud and a filed plea agreement were unsealed on June 2. Cannon appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer the following day to formally enter a guilty plea.

“Through his actions, Cannon betrayed the trust of his constituents and his peers, compromised the integrity of our local government and damaged Charlotte’s good reputation,” said Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina during a press conference following Tuesday’s hearing.

“Cannon will now be held accountable… for putting personal gain over the greater good,” she said. “As we move forward, let one message be clear: My office will continue to investigate allegations of public corruption and go after anyone who uses pubic office as a means of getting rich. Charlotte has no room for corrupt politicians.”

Arriving with his legal team, attorneys James Ferguson and Henderson Hill, Cannon was greeted at the federal courthouse by dozens of media, including reporters from as far as New York. After nearly falling to the ground amid the commotion, he walked into the courtroom around 10:45 a.m. His hearing, which lasted about 20 minutes, began nearly an hour later.

With a somber face, Cannon stood straight with his head high as the judge read through the charges against him, seven instances in which he accepted bribes – including $50,000 – $70,000 in cash, use of a luxury apartment, and an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas – in exchange for various favors from urging a council member to intervene with city officials on behalf a strip club owner to giving false presentations as mayor pro tem and making special promises to a undercover agents posing as businessmen.

Cannon told the judge he was guilty as charged.

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Source: The Charlotte Post | Michaela L. Duckett

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