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Leopold Misconduct Trial Heads to Closing Arguments

The defense rested its case on Monday morning.

Circuit Court Judge Dennis Sweeney is expected to begin deliberations after closing arguments on Tuesday in the misconduct trial of Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold.

Sweeney rejected defense attorney Bruce Marcus' motion for a summary judgment of acquittal on Monday, which was the second time the defense put forth the motion.

Sweeney agreed with part of the first motion on Friday, dismissing one misconduct charge against the Pasadena Republican.

The judge said when the police drove Leopold around the county to destroy or remove the campaign signs of his opponent Joanna Conti during the 2010 election it showed "poor judgement" but not misconduct in office.

Leopold still faces three counts of misconduct in office and one count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary. If convicted on the fraud charge, Leopold could face up to five years in prison.

The prosecution claimed that Leopold misused his security detail—which is paid for by the county—by ordering the officers to collect campaign donations, distribute campaign signs, empty Leopold's catheter bag of urine, drive him to sexual encounters in a bowling alley parking lot, pick up his dry cleaning and even to drop off the morning paper at his home.

The defense did not dispute some of the facts of the case but has argued that the accusations at worst amount to Leopold being a bad boss who may have spent county money unwisely by leaning on his security detail while recovering from two rounds of back surgery.

The defense called only three witnesses—two of whom were doctors who testified that Leopold was unable to perform everyday tasks like taking out the trash due to his condition.

Sweeney asked Deputy State Prosecutor Thomas McDonough, "When does this turn into something where the county executive can be prosecuted for what is just governmental waste?"

McDonough argued that Leopold intentionally defrauded the county for his personnel benefit, which is different from making a series of poor policy decisions that lead to a loss taxpayer money.

The defense also tried to convince Judge Sweeney that Leopold could not be guilty of fraud because he is not a fiduciary. Former Police Chief James Teare was required to authorize overtime pay for the officers on Leopold's security detail.

"It is the proverbial round peg in a square hole because the allegations here have not been met because there is no appropriation of money," Marcus said. "There is simply no proof that Mr. Leopold had control."

The prosecution countered by arguing that while Leopold didn't sign their checks, he had the right as county executive to order the men to work weekends and overtime hours.

McDonough said to be a fiduciary under the law a person needs to have control over something of value.

"I think the law is clear that he is," McDonough said.

See also:

  • Judge Finds Leopld Not Guilty on One Misconduct Charge
  • Leopold's Defense Emerges as Prosecution Rests in Misconduct Trial
  • Lawyers Lay Out Their Cases in Leopold Trial
  • Leopold Waives Right to Jury Trial
  • County Executive's Trial Starts in Annapolis
Wild Bill Cody January 28, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Although I'm not in any way defending Leopold, this type of fraud goes on hundreds of times a day from the lowerst paid state employee to the highest paid state employee. Look at the case against former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon. Even after her fraud conviction, she was still allowed to draw her retirement. This is why government needs to be as small as possible. The larger government is, the more amount of fraud, waste, and abuse of power you are going to have.
Julie January 29, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Explain to me why a county executive needs a security detail? Also, how is this not misconduct or a waste of taxpayer funds! In my mind anytime a politician uses his position for personal benefi, it's misconduct.

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