Former Democratic Mayor of Fairfax, Virginia, Richard “Scott” Silverthorne, pleaded guilty on Monday to a felony drug distribution charge stemming from his August 2016 arrest. He was arrested during a sting operation in which he sold methamphetamine to an undercover police officer in exchange for sexual favors. Shortly after, he resigned from his position.
As a Fairfax native, Silverthorne worked his entire career to become a pillar in the community he served. Starting as a city councilman, he worked from 1990 to 2008 to help build the town up. This was done by adding parks, increasing school funding and growing programs to help veterans and the elderly. After a small hiatus from office, he returned to the city council in 2011, then ran for Mayor the following year. Silverthorne also worked as a substitute teacher for the Fairfax school district.
During his time as mayor, Silverthorne worked to revamp local business regulations and promote economic development within the small suburb outside of Washington, D.C. According to his family, Silverthorne was great at making his office more accessible to the citizens of Fairfax. That made him one of the town’s most popular mayors in its long history.
In 2015, some would say Silverthorne was dealt a bad hand. He battled cancer in his neck and fell upon deep financial troubles, which ultimately led to the foreclosure of his five-bedroom home. This is when many people think his habits changed and he began leaning toward drug abuse.
“He loves Fairfax County more than anything,” says Silverthorne’s sister-in-law. She also points out the large groups of people who have shown up to his court hearings as proof of his dedication to the town, as well as their likeness of him. She added, “Everybody loves him.”
After his arrest, the former mayor announced his resignation and began working at a hardware store in Bethesda, Maryland. Chris Minich, Silverthorne’s co-worker, says he is great at making other employees laugh and creates a friendly atmosphere. “The second I met him I felt like I’d known him for a long time,” said Minich.
On August 4, 2016, undercover officers met Silverthorne at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Tysons, a neighboring town. Detectives say they first encountered the ‘politician-turned-pusher’ on a website used for casual sexual encounters between men. After a few messages back and forth, Silverthorne offered to supply drugs in exchange for an orgy at the hotel. He added that the detectives should set something up and text him the details for when they would like to meet.
Upon meeting him in the hotel parking lot, the detectives handed Silverthorne $200 for methamphetamine. He used $60 to pay back a debt he owed, then purchased $140 worth of the drug from a supplier that was inside the hotel. When he returned to the parking lot, the officers arrested him.
Two other men were also arrested in connection with the crime. Juan Jose Fernandez and Caustin Lee McLaughlin were both booked on felony drug charges for their part in the deal.
After pleading guilty, Silverthorne was told he is to remain in custody until his sentencing hearing scheduled for June 9. He faces up to 40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
His attorney, Brian Drummond, said the court ruling to hold Silverthorne in custody until June was rather shocking. He noted that the former mayor has no prior record of drug charges, and the fact that he was released after his initial arrest should say something about his character. He added that the prosecution did not ask for him to be held, it was decision the court made independently.
Some of his supporters were visibly shaken after it was announced that he would head to jail until his sentencing. Silverthorne himself remained calm and only answered in one or two-word responses during the entire duration of the hearing.
This case takes a seemingly different turn from the past corruption of Democratic leaders. It seems that since Obama left office, many of their secrets are pouring out into the open. Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe they no longer have someone to protect them. This particular case comes after a long line of political corruption. Many other Democrats didn’t receive the same treatment as Silverthorne, though. Perhaps the judge overseeing his case has seen enough and has decided it’s time to make a change.
Last year, a representative from North Philly, Leslie Acosta, was found to have pleaded guilty on charges of money laundering. Acosta had helped a former employer embezzle thousands of dollars from a clinic that was funded by taxpayers from 2008 to 2012, prior to her time in public office. Even though she pleaded guilty to the charges last March, the courts agreed to keep the case sealed.
This allowed Acosta to run for re-election in November, which she won after the application deadline due to running unopposed. In September, a team of lawmakers uncovered the case and made it public, forcing Acosta to resign on the day she was scheduled to begin her next term. Now her position is up for grabs with a Republican leading the way so far.
It appears that the Democratic Party is falling to pieces on every level imaginable. The proven corruption from Hillary Clinton and every campaign she ever associated with seemed to trigger a “domino effect” for other Democratic leaders. If they all continue to falter, there will cease to be a Democratic Party as we know it. We knew they were all corrupt, but the newfound evidence of their illegal, immoral, and unethical decisions just cements our disdain for politicians who think they’re invincible.
Drummond is confident that the June sentencing hearing will go well for his client. He says with Virginia’s voluntary sentencing guidelines, the judge could give him 7 months to one year in prison. He adds the recommendation based on Silverthorne’s history and circumstances could lead to probation.
“When the judge sees what kind of person he really is, there’s a good possibility that she will sentence him with the guidelines,” says Drummond.