Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has agreed to resign for violating state election law during her 2017 run for re-election and will leave office by Dec. 1.
Warren, 44, was readying Monday for what was expected to be a month-long trial on felony charges that she and two assistants violated campaign contribution limits, but she pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor, admitting that she knowingly exceeded the $8,557 limit, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
By admitting to the charge, the city’s first black woman elected as mayor avoids the likely loss of her law license and immediate removal from office.
Warren’s co-defendants, campaign treasurer Albert Jones Jr. and Rosiland Brooks-Harris, treasurer of political action committee Warren for a Strong Rochester, also pleaded guilty to accepting campaign contributions that exceeded legal limits, the newspaper reported.
Warren, who declined to comment to reporters while leaving court, is expected to be replaced by Deputy Mayor James Smith. City Councilman Malik Evans, who beat Warren in a Democratic primary earlier this year, is then expected to take office on Jan. 1, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
Warren thanked the residents of Rochester in a Facebook post late Monday.
“Leaving the past behind and looking forward to a brighter future,” Warren wrote. “We’ve accomplished a lot together, but in the end, I thank God that I’m able to choose family over everything.”
Warren, Jones and Brooks-Harris had faced up to four years in state prison if convicted on the felony charge, according to WHAM. But a judge sentenced all three to a year-long conditional discharge, meaning they could face additional penalties if they commit additional crimes during that period, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
Monroe County prosecutors did not recommend the conditional discharge, leaving the sentencing decision to Judge Thomas Leone. Attorneys for Warren had previously denied evading campaign finance rules, blaming the errors on poor bookkeeping and inadvertent errors.
Prosecutors didn’t specify the scope of the alleged fraud other than to say it was in the “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” The PAC had raised about $350,000, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
Warren’s plea deal Monday also resolved separate gun and child endangerment charges. In July, a grand jury indicted her and her estranged husband, Timothy Granison, with criminal possession of a firearm and endangering the welfare of a child and failure to lock or secure firearms in a dwelling, the newspaper reported.
The allegations were connected to a raid of their home in May that police said led to the seizure of 2 kilos of cocaine and a rifle and a pistol at the home, where their 10-year-old daughter was found alone. Both Warren and Granison had pleaded not guilty to the gun and child endangerment charges, while she was not implicated in the alleged drug-trafficking network linked to her estranged husband.
This is an excerpt from the New York Post.
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