Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon apologized Tuesday to "the city I love" after pleading guilty to a federal public corruption charge that will send him to prison.
U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer asked Cannon if he was guilty of defrauding Charlotte of his honest services by taking at least $50,000 in bribes.
"Yes sir, your honor, I am," said a soft-spoken Cannon, who kept the tips of his fingers on a courtroom table as the judge reviewed his plea agreement.
The charge carries a maximum of 20 years in prison. Cannon will be sentenced at a later date that has not been scheduled.
Outside the courthouse, dressed in a gray suit and flanked by his two attorneys, Cannon asked for forgiveness.
"Much has been given to me in they way of the public's trust," Cannon said. "I regret having acted in ways that broke that trust."
Cannon admitted to taking bribes on seven occassions between January 2013 and February 2014, when he received $20,000 cash in a leather bag during a meeting in his office at the Government Center.
Since his arrest on March 26, Cannon has cooperated with the federal investigation, which began four years ago with a focus on members of the business community.
U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins said Cannon's guilty plea was not the end of that investigation.
"We need to determine whether this bribery scheme was only Cannon-deep and Cannon-wide, or if it extended beyond the mayor's office," Tompkins said.
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