PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The federal corruption trial of Philadelphia city councilmember Kenyatta Johnson resumed Friday morning. Johnson’s wife, Dawn Chavous, is also indicted in the case.
The prosecution is arguing councilman Johnson’s seat was sold in a bribery scheme. They claim Chavous was given a consultant job for Universal Companies in exchange for Johnson’s vote on key projects.READ MORE: Former Giants CB James Bradberry Agrees To Terms On 1-Year Deal With Philadelphia Eagles
Universal Companies is a nonprofit that develops affordable housing and operates charter schools.
Over the course of her contract, Chavous made nearly $67,000. But prosecutors claim it was a “low show” job that only existed so money could be funneled to Johnson’s accounts.
Johnson’s lawyer argued no bribe was necessary because the councilman supported Universal’s mission for years before Chavous was hired. Chavous’ lawyer said she was hired because of her expertise, not because of her husband.READ MORE: Pennsylvania US Senate Race Between Republicans Mehmet Oz, Dave McCormick Too Close To Call
Johnson and Chavous face two charges of bribery and honest services fraud. They each face 40 years in prison.
Rahim Islam, the CEO of Universal Companies, and Shahied Dawan, the organization’s chief financial officer, face 20 additional counts. They include racketeering, conspiracy, tax evasion, and wire fraud charges.
Prosecutors claim they stole $500,000 from Universal in the form of bonuses and personal reimbursements. Their lawyers said they wouldn’t steal from an organization they helped build. They each face about 300 years in prison.
While a lot of this case is inside baseball, the bottom line is that by the end of it, Philadelphia could have two city council members convicted of federal crimes in 2022.MORE NEWS: WATCH LIVE: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Acting AG Matthew J. Platkin To Make Law Enforcement Announcement
Former councilman Bobby Henon was convicted earlier this year. Johnson and Chavous’ trial is expected to last for about three weeks.