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Thursday, June 7, 2012 12:22 p.m.

Law professor temporarily takes over top post in scandal-ridden D.C. Council

Mary Cheh, a council member and constitutional law professor, will take the helm of the D.C. Council as temporary chair after former chair Kwame Brown resigned Wednesday. Hatchet File Photo

Updated June 8, 2012 at 12:22 p.m.

Correction appended

A bank fraud scandal led to the ousting of the D.C. Council chairman Wednesday and thrust a GW Law School professor and council member into the city government’s second-highest position.

Ward 3 Democrat Mary Cheh will serve as temporary chair of the D.C. Council until members elect a permanent head to replace Kwame Brown, who pleaded guilty to one count of felony bank fraud at a plea hearing Friday, according to The Washington Post. His sentencing date was scheduled for September 20.

Cheh joined the law school in 1979.

Brown resigned after prosecutors charged that he falsified bank documents to get a loan approved, according to The Post. He had faced a barrage of investigations this year into his finances and campaign tactics.

“On some level, I feel betrayed,” Cheh said, according to the article. “He let down the District of Columbia.”

She did not immediately return a request for comment.

Cheh assumed the role of temporary chair because she had served as the council’s president pro tempore. In a statement Wednesday, she looked to restore confidence that the city’s legislative branch that has faced constant scrutiny will continue its work.

“I want to reassure everyone that the work of the Council will continue uninterrupted. We will move forward focused on the business the people elected us to do,” said Cheh, who is in her second term representing Ward 3 residents.

Cheh’s appointment will likely be short-lived, with the D.C. Council set to elect an interim leader June 13. The pick must be an at-large member, according to federal law, placing council members Michael Brown, David Catania, Phil Mendelson and Vincent Orange in the candidate pool.

A District-wide special election to permanently fill the position will be held Nov. 6.

This post was updated June 7, 2012 at 1:05 p.m. to reflect the following:

The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Mary Cheh took the city government’s top position after Kwame Brown resigned. As temporary chair, she is in the second-highest position, after the mayor.

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