Tuesday morning Patrick Cannon will be sentenced in federal court. The former Charlotte mayor admitted earlier this year to taking more than $50,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents.
Patrick Cannon was a rising political star in Charlotte. He was just 26 when first elected to the city council. Then he was elected mayor pro tem. And on December 2 of last year, Patrick Cannon became Charlotte’s mayor. "We gather here tonight not just to swear in a new mayor," Cannon said at the time, "But to start the next chapter of the history of our great city."
It’s a chapter the city would like to put behind it.
Just 114 days after taking the oath, FBI agents swarmed the mayor’s office. Cannon was arrested and the public learned of a years-long sting operation that included a leather briefcase stuffed with $20,000 in cash, a bugged apartment, fake businessmen, international financiers and a feminine hygiene product concocted as cover for a bribe.
That was late March. By early June, Cannon admitted his guilt. "Today, I have admitted to accepting moneys for constituent services. Something that never should have been done while serving in elected office."
Cannon faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. But, as part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to ask for just 4 to 5 years in prison. In return, Cannon has agreed to provide evidence and testify to all other illegal activities he knows of.
Cannon’s sentencing may be the end of his chapter of corruption in Charlotte, but it might not be the end of the story.