Former Md. county exec pleads guilty to extortion

By BEN NUCKOLS | May 17, 2011 | 2:45 PM EDT

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — The former county executive of a Washington, D.C. suburb has pleaded guilty to federal charges of extortion and witness and evidence tampering arising from an FBI investigation into pay-to-play business dealings.

Jack Johnson, a Democrat who served as the Prince George's County, Md. executive from 2002 to 2010, entered the plea Tuesday.

The 61-year-old Johnson said outside court he was "very sorry for what happened" and added, "We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of the Lord."

The plea comes six months after authorities say FBI agents tapping his cell phone heard Johnson tell his wife, with agents at their door, to flush a $100,000 check from a developer down the toilet and hide nearly $80,000 cash in her underwear.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 15.