A team of Faegre Drinker white collar defense and investigations attorneys led by Barry Gross successfully defended the wife of a prominent Philadelphia politician in a federal bribery trial, securing a full acquittal of alleged honest services fraud charges. Gross served as lead trial counsel for Dawn Chavous in USA v. Islam, et al., in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
On November 2, a Philadelphia jury found Chavous and her husband, Philadelphia Councilperson Kenyatta Johnson, not guilty on federal corruption charges alleging that Johnson had collected bribes through a consulting contract worth $66,750 over two years with his wife, a nationally recognized expert in charter schools, in exchange for providing assistance to a nonprofit company in his district that operates charter schools and redevelops the neighborhood. Chavous, Johnson and their co-defendants were first indicted in January 2020. Their first trial in March/April 2022 resulted in a mistrial after the jury could not agree on a verdict. The CEO and CFO of the nonprofit were also acquitted.
Following the verdict, Gross said, "We very much appreciate the jury's verdict and are very happy that Mr. Johnson and Ms. Chavous can go back and resume their lives."
The Faegre Drinker team also included Andrew Reeve, Elizabeth Casey and Henry Grabbe. Johnson was represented by Patrick Egan, of Fox Rothschild.
The case received significant media attention in Philadelphia and in legal industry publications. See Law360’s coverage of the trial and verdict for more details.