Lovely Warren, the beleaguered mayor of Rochester, New York, admitted on Monday that she broke campaign finance rules during her re-election campaign in 2017 and, as part of her deal to advocacy, would be leaving the office by December.
The plea deal will also resolve the weapons and child endangerment charges she has faced, the Democrat & Chronicle reported. She could have been given a prison term if she had been tried and sentenced, the newspaper reported. She did not answer journalists’ questions after the hearing.
In July, Warren and her husband Timothy Granison pleaded not guilty to charges arising from a police raid that allegedly revealed a rifle and pistol, and her 10-year-old daughter alone, in the home they share.
Warren, who was once considered a promising Democrat, and her two co-defendants have each pleaded guilty to one felony charge of accepting campaign contributions beyond legal limits, according to the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office. She was due to step down in January after losing the primary in June to a city councilor. Deputy Mayor James Smith is expected to complete the remainder of his term.
Jennifer Lewke, a reporter for WHEC, tweeted that Warren had admitted in court “knowingly and willfully accepting excess campaign funds in violation of election law.” When asked how she wanted to plead, she replied: “Guilty, your honor”.
Warren then took to Facebook to post, “Leave the past behind and wait for a better future. Thank you, Rochester. We have accomplished a lot together, but at the end of the day I thank God for being able to choose my family. all.”
She had been heavily criticized for the city’s handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude, a black man who died in March 2020, a week after being held by police officers against the sidewalk until he stopped breathing . Prude had run away from her brother’s house and lost her clothes during an apparent episode of mental health.
Carrie Cohen, her attorney, called the misdemeanor plea – not the original felony charges – stuck to her earlier statement that funds paid to her PAC were not filed properly, according to the New York Times.
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“There has never been an allegation of campaign theft or other funds by the mayor or anyone else involved in the campaign,” she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report