The former mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, has pleaded guilty to a public corruption charge in connection with allegations that he accepted bribes from federal agents. The man, Patrick Cannon, admitted to the white collar crimes on May 27. He will be sentenced on one count of honest service wire fraud, a charge that carries with it up to two decades in prison and a quarter-million dollar fine.
Authorities say they collared the man after undercover federal agents bribed him with cash, hotel rooms and other perquisites. Those agents were pretending to be real estate developers who were interested in creating new projects in Charlotte, the state’s largest city. That investigation was launched after an undercover officer tipped off the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the defendant may have been involved in some sort of financial fraud. That began in 2010.
Cannon will remain free on bond until he is slated to be sentenced. The 47-year-old man admitted to a judge that he was guilty, and he apologized to the media after the hearing. The defendant told news reporters that he was sorry for accepting money for services that would have been rendered through the city. He said he knew that it was unethical, and he should have never committed such fraud while in office.
This criminal defendant decided to plead guilty to the charges he faced. This means that he gave up the right to a jury trial, instead admitting to the allegations in a legal setting. A guilty plea can be a useful tool in certain legal situations; however, it is not appropriate for every criminal defendant. Careful consideration should be given to each criminal plea.
Source: ABC News, “Guilty Plea in Ex-Charlotte Mayor Corruption Case” Michael Biesecker and Tom Foreman Jr., The Associated Press, Jun. 02, 2014