Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren Agrees to Plea Deal on Day Trial Begins, Will Resign

As part of a plea deal, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren agreed to resign before her term ends to settle felony charges that she took steps to evade campaign contribution limits during her 2017 reelection campaign, the Associated Press on Monday.

Warren's resignation will be effective December 1 and Deputy Mayor James Smith will serve the remainder of her term. Since Warren pleaded guilty on a lesser misdemeanor charge, she is able to keep her pension and her law license.

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

Originally, Warren denied attempts to evade finance regulations and blamed errors on sloppy bookkeeping. Warren called the investigation into the campaign a "political witch hunt."

For more reporting by the Associated Press, see below.

Mayor Lovely Warren resigns
Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester is resigning as part of plea deal on charges that she violated campaign finance regulations. Above, Warren walks toward the courtroom for the start of her trial on October 4, 2021, in Rochester, New York. Democrat & Chronicle via AP

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.

The resignation will provide an early end to a tumultuous term for mayor of New York's third-largest city. The indictment against Warren last year 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 the Rochester 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.