Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon was found guilty yesterday of embezzling about $500 in retail gift cards meant for charity, a misdemeanor conviction that could end her tenure as the city’s first woman mayor, the Baltimore Sun reports. The Maryland Constitution calls for removing elected officials from office when they are sentenced for a crime related to their public duties.
Jurors said in post-trial interviews that their verdict hinged more on the mayor’s abuse of public trust than the dollar amount of the crime. “It’s not that it’s ‘just gift cards,’ ” said a juror who identified herself only by her first name, Shawana. The 23-year-old said she hoped that people would see a lesson in the conviction: “You can’t just do what you want to do  no matter how famous you are.” Dixon is scheduled for a perjury trial in March on charges of failing to disclose gifts from ex-boyfriend Ronald Lipscomb, a developer who received lucrative city tax incentives. City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake would become mayor if Dixon is forced to leave.