Baltimore Mayor Charges: Straightforward Or “Monstrous” Error?


Court watchers are dissecting the case against indicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, with some outlining bountiful defense options that could prove effective in a largely supportive city, reports the Baltimore Sun. Her attorney argues that the corruption prosecution is based on a “monstrous legal mistake.” Others who have prosecuted white-collar crime called the allegations against her “straightforward” and potentially easy to prove. Dixon, 55, is scheduled for arraignment Feb. 3. Dixon, a Democrat, faces 12 counts of felony theft, perjury, fraud and misconduct in office. She is accused of failing to disclose lavish gifts from a prominent developer who is also an ex-boyfriend, and stealing gift cards that developers donated to her office to be distributed to needy families. Most of the alleged crimes occurred while she was City Council president.

Warren A. Brown, a veteran defense attorney, said jurors might view the accusations as “largely forgivable transgressions.” He added: “Jurors here tend to render verdicts that represent how they feel about someone, and that may at times be inconsistent with or contrary to Maryland law.” In her first two years as mayor, she has focused on ending homelessness, bringing down the city’s stubborn homicide rate and cleaning up blighted neighborhoods. But the facts of the case against her are strong, according to some experts. David Gray of the University of Maryland School of Law, said the indictment constructed a detailed timeline to substantiate the theft allegations regarding the gift cards, electronically tracing them to find out when and where they were used. “It’s the kind of evidence that’s not open to a lot of interpretation,” he said.


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