HARRISBURG - Former State Treasurer Rob McCord kept his answers short and his head bowed Tuesday morning.

As he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted extortion in federal court, McCord gave uncharacteristically clipped responses to a judge's questions: Yes, he understood the charges against him. Yes, he realized that he could be giving up certain rights by pleading guilty.

And, yes, he tried to strong-arm campaign donors during his unsuccessful run for governor last year.

The Montgomery County Democrat's guilty plea capped a whirlwind month that saw the onetime gubernatorial candidate resign in the middle of his second term and publicly apologize for his actions.

During the nearly hour-long hearing , McCord, 55, acknowledged his guilt to U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III. Jones did not set a sentencing date but scheduled a presentencing conference in June.

Beyond answering routine questions from the judge, the former treasurer known for his glibness and frenetic pace said little during the hearing. Asked about any health problems, McCord volunteered that he once had been treated for attention deficit disorder.

But he offered no new details about his crimes or the investigation that toppled him.

He arrived at the courthouse more than an hour before his hearing was to start and sat quietly in the courtroom, his head buried in a book.

He declined to comment after the hearing as he left with his lawyer, Robert E. Welsh Jr.

Welsh, too, was guarded. Asked whether McCord's plea could spare him prison time, Welsh said: "I can't say. Nobody knows at this point."

The maximum penalty McCord could face on each charge is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, although federal guidelines are likely to result in a considerably lighter sentence.

Welsh did signal that more information about McCord and his crimes would come at sentencing: "In the fullness of time . . . you will have a lot to write about."

Though not a surprise - McCord signaled his intention to plead guilty last month - his plea comes amid an ongoing investigation that has left major donors and contractors wondering if there are more shoes to drop.

FBI agents have interviewed several of McCord's donors about contracts they hold for government work, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation. Late last year, agents subpoenaed McCord's former office looking for records relating to a list of major donors, contract-holders, and fund-raising committees across the state.

Whether McCord, a former venture capitalist from Bryn Mawr, is playing any role in the continuing probe remains unclear. His agreement with prosecutors makes no mention of whether he has agreed to cooperate, and Welsh would not comment when asked about it Tuesday.

The charges stem from McCord's bid last spring to raise money while running for the Democratic nomination for governor.

At the time, Tom Wolf had become the unexpected front-runner, having launched a series of early and successful television ads and after pouring millions of his own money into the campaign. McCord put more than $2 million of his own into the race, but by spring had begun to panic about his inability to gain any traction in the four-candidate race.

In documents filed with his plea agreement, McCord acknowledged that he tried to strong-arm officials at two companies - one an unnamed Western Pennsylvania contractor, the other an unnamed Philadelphia law firm - for campaign contributions.

In one instance quoted in court filings, McCord threatened the managing partner of the Philadelphia firm if the company did not make a sizable contribution to his campaign.

He told the partner, a supporter of former Gov. Tom Corbett's, that he could still harm the firm in his position as the treasurer, where he managed the state's money and investments.

"At the very least, I'm still going to be the freaking treasurer," McCord said in the conversation apparently recorded by federal agents or cooperating witnesses, court records show.

Around the same time, McCord directed one of his campaign "bundlers" - people who solicit contributions from friends, business associates, and others - to squeeze the Western Pennsylvania property-management firm for $100,000.

In a telephone conversation with the bundler, McCord complained that the principals of the property-management firm were "rich as gods," and urged the bundler to call them and say the things that "I don't want to say."

The firm had received benefits and other incentives from the state that were approved in part by McCord.

The court documents say McCord counseled the bundler to "get them learning" that as treasurer, McCord was a "fiscal watchdog" - the inference being that he could stop state benefits from flowing to the company.