Charlotte mayor resigns following corruption charges

CHARLOTTE, MECKLENBURG COUNTY - A city spokesman says Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon has resigned effective immediately just hours after he was charged with federal public corruption and bribery.  Keith Richardson says Cannon submitted his letter Wednesday to the city manager and attorney.

U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins said Wednesday that Cannon solicited and accepted bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as real estate developers who wanted to do business in Charlotte. A criminal complaint says Cannon is accused of soliciting and accepting more than $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room and the use of a luxury apartment as bribes.

The Democratic mayor issued his resignation letter, saying, "In light of the charges that have been brought against me, it is my judgment that the pendency of these charges will create too much of a distraction for the business of the city to go forward smoothly...I regret that I have to take his action, but I believe that it is in the best interest of the city for me to do so."

If convicted on all the charges, Cannon faces 20 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines.

The 47-year-old Cannon was elected mayor in November, replacing Anthony Foxx. Foxx was named Transportation Secretary by President Barack Obama.

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