Lovely Warren, the Democratic mayor of Rochester, New York, speaks during a news conference in the city on Sept. 3, 2020. (Adrian Kraus / AP)
By Jack Davis October 5, 2021 at 6:23am
The first black woman to be elected mayor of Rochester, New York, on Monday completed her journey from groundbreaker to lawbreaker in a plea deal that requires her to resign by Dec. 1.
Lovely Warren cut a plea deal that resolves election law charges against her as well as pending weapons and child endangerment charges that were not related to her job as mayor, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
The deal allowed Warren to escape with a misdemeanor conviction for knowingly violating campaign contribution limits in 2017. She could have faced a felony conviction if her election law case went to trial.
Mayor Warren is now at the podium. She is admitting to “knowingly and willingly accepting excess campaign funds in violation of election law” – when asked how does she plead, she says “guilty, your honor” @news10nbc
— Jennifer Lewke (@WHEC_JLewke) October 4, 2021
Two co-defendants — Albert Jones Jr., Warren’s campaign treasurer, and Rosiland Brooks-Harris, the current city finance director and the treasurer of Warren’s 2017 political action committee — also pleaded guilty to the same charges as Warren, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
Warren and her estranged husband, Timothy Granison, had also been facing a charge of criminal possession of a firearm and two counts each of endangering the welfare of a child and failure to properly secure firearms.
Granison still faces charges in connection with what police said was a drug trafficking network, but Warren is now cleared of those allegations, the report said.
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Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Jacob Ark said she will face an attorney grievance committee that will weigh the future of her law license.
Warren also faces a child protective investigation over allegations her daughter was in the home with unsecured guns.
The mayor said on Monday that the plea deal was in her interest and “her daughter’s best interest,” according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
Lovely Warren, the embattled Democratic mayor of Rochester, New York, agreed to resign on Monday after accepting a plea deal on multiple state charges stemming from campaign finance violations, as well as child endangerment and gun charges. https://t.co/jBPmSL1oHS
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 4, 2021
The irony, or privilege, of the Lovely Warren story is that she was shown infinitely more mercy than she has ever shown. She started destroying careers and livelihoods for spite as soon as she became mayor, and has done so right up to the present.
— Bob Lonsberry (@BobLonsberry) October 5, 2021
“Our democracy depends on fair elections,” Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart, a Democrat who lost to Warren in a 2017 Democratic primary, said in a statement, according to WHEC-TV. “Public corruption cannot be tolerated, and we have a lot of work to do at the state and local level to ensure ethical conduct.”
“Lovely was able to raise well over $100,000 more than she was allowed from these donors because almost all of them had interests before the city,” she said.
“This is an important step in our larger efforts in promoting ethical elections in our state,” Sandra Doorley, the Monroe County district attorney, said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
“The ramifications of the Mayor’s conduct spans beyond the criminal justice system,” the district attorney said.
Although Warren is forced to leave office, she will take something with her.
Because she pleaded to a misdemeanor, she gets to keep her public employee pension, according to a spokeswoman for the state comptroller’s office.