WASHINGTON, June 26, 2009 -- Monica Conyers, the wife of the powerful chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., pleaded guilty to one count of bribery in a federal court in Detroit, this morning.
According to court documents, in late 2007, Mrs. Conyers, president pro tem of the Detroit City Council, twice accepted envelopes filled with cash, once in the parking lot of a Detroit McDonalds.
This case focuses around dealings with Detroit businessman Rayford Jackson who pleaded guilty on Monday to giving $6,000 to a member of the Detroit City Council to help steer a wastewater treatment contract to Synagro Technologies.
Jackson was working as a consultant for Synagro which won the $1.2 Billion contract to remove sludge from the city's water treatment plants. The contract was awarded in 2007.
The criminal information noted that on Nov. 20, 2007 and Dec. 4, 2007 Mrs. Conyers received envelopes filled with cash from people associated with Jackson.
After initially opposing a sludge contract with Synagro, Mrs. Conyers, after accepting a bribe, became the deciding vote in the city council on a resolution to approve the contract.
Mrs. Conyers faces up to 5 year in prison, three years supervised release and/or a $250,000 fine. Calls to an attorney for Mrs. Conyers were not immediately returned.
Rep. John Conyers, a 23-term Democrat, has no involvement in any of the charges and is expected to continue as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department and the FBI.
In a statement from a spokesman for Rep. Conyers said, "This has been a trying time for the Conyers family and, with hope and prayer, they will make it through this as a family. Public officials must expect to be held to the highest ethical and legal standards. With this in mind, Mr. Conyers wants to work towards helping his family and city recover from this serious matter."
Conyers failed to appear Friday morning at an event at the National Press Club on a panel discussion on prosecutorial misconduct at the Justice Department. House Judiciary Committee counsel Elliot Mincberg, appeared on the chairman's behalf and stated the congressman has "present business on Capitol Hill."