HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – A man is accused of extorting $5,000 from a Hampton city councilman who hired a prostitute.
Michael Eugene Brown II is charged with threatening to extort money from Hampton City Councilman Chris Bowman. Police arrested Brown on June 17 – more than a year after the alleged crime.
Bowman reported the extortion to Hampton Police in April 2022. He said he paid a prostitute $200 to perform a sex act on him at a Newport News hotel in January 2022. When he returned to his car in the hotel parking lot, he discovered several of his items, including his cellphone, were stolen, court records state.
Bowman got texts and calls from an unknown man, who police later identified as Brown, about a week after his encounter with the prostitute. The man told Bowman he found his cellphone, then threatened to expose its contents if the councilman didn’t pay him, according to court records.
Bowman met Brown in March 2022 at a Hampton hospital, where the councilman paid him $5,000 for the return of his cellphone. Brown claimed he didn’t have the cellphone and took off with the money, court records show.
Bowman told police he paid the man because he thought the information in his phone could “cause harm to his character and reputation,” court records show.
Bowman isn’t charged with any crime. 10 On Your Side contacted his attorney, Carter Phillips, who said he hopes people will not judge the councilman based on one mistake.
“He’s really remorseful about the incident,” Phillips said. “He hasn’t done anything like this since, and I’m sure he will not do this again. He is an excellent councilman and an excellent human being. Everybody makes mistakes, and frankly, he’s been a superior human being prior to this. He’s going to go on being a great human and a great councilman.”
Bowman was first elected to Hampton City Council in January 2020. His term will expire Dec. 31, 2024. He worked in director-level positions at Eastern State Hospital for 32 years.