Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren to resign as part of plea deal

Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester, N.Y., Sept. 3, 2020. (AP file photo)

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren agreed to resign before her term ends as part of a deal to settle charges she violated campaign finance rules during her 2017 reelection campaign, news outlets reported.

Warren was scheduled to go on trial Monday on felony charges she and two assistants took steps to evade contribution limits. Under the deal, Warren pleaded guilty to accepting campaign contributions that exceeded a 2013 law.

Her resignation will be effective on Dec. 1. Warren was set to leave office in January after losing a Democratic primary earlier this year.

Warren, campaign treasurer Albert Jones Jr. and Rosiland Brooks-Harris, the city's finance director and treasurer of a pro-Warren political action committee, were charged with exceeding campaign finance limits by illegally moving money between her campaign committee and the PAC.

Warren had denied any attempt to evade campaign finance rules, blamed errors on sloppy bookkeeping and referred to the investigation as a "political witch hunt."

The plea deal also covers the child endangerment charges against Warren, according to multiple news outlets. In July, Warren and husband Timothy Granison pleaded not guilty to unrelated charges stemming from a police raid that allegedly turned up a rifle and pistol, and her 10-year-old daughter alone, in the home they share. 

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The indictment against Warren added another layer of crisis in a city that had been reeling over its handling of the police killing of Daniel Prude.

Prude died March 30, a week after officers put a hood over his head to stop him from spitting, then held him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing. A medical examiner said his cause of death was asphyxiation.

His death received no public attention until months later when his family released police body camera video. Warren had been heavily criticized for the city's handling of Prude's death. She claimed she had no knowledge of Prude's case until his family went public.

But a report commissioned by Rochester's city council faulted her and the former police chief for keeping critical details of the case secret for months and lying to the public about what they knew.