Charlotte mayor arrested on corruption charges

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – FBI agents arrested Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon Wednesday morning on public corruption charges.

Mayor Cannon appeared in federal court briefly this afternoon, 114 days after taking office.

Cannon, 47, faces several charges including theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, honest services wire fraud and extortion under color of official right.

The arrest follows an undercover investigation that began in August 2010. Authorities allege Cannon solicited and accepted cash from undercover FBI agents posing as real estate developers and investors who wanted to do business in Charlotte.

Cannon allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for the privileges of his position as an elected official, whether it be as mayor, mayor pro tem or a city council member.

The FBI says he accepted money from agents on five separate occasions. The last was on Feb. 21, 2014. He is accused of accepting $20,000 in cash at the mayor's office. The exchanges began in January 2013, according to the Department of Justice.

In total, Mayor Cannon accepted about $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room and use of a luxury apartment, the FBI says.

NBC Charlotte reporter Rad Berky was the only one outside of the courthouse when Mayor Cannon walked out from the building. The mayor didn't have much to say when asked about the charges.

"What happened? Can you tell us what happened?" -- RB

"Well, nothing at this point that I can discuss. But I'll certainly be back in contact with you." -- PC

"What would you tell the voters of the city today, sir?" -- RB

"There's nothing too much I can say at this point, but when I'm able to, I'll touch base." -- PC

Cannon is free on a $25,000 unsecured bond.

He faces a maximum sentence of:

  • 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for theft and bribery
  • 20 years and $1,000,000 fine for honest services wire fraud
  • 20 years and $250,000 fine for extortion


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