Reporting Pat Warren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The state’s highest court ends the state prosecutor’s three-year-long quest to bring bribery and perjury charges against a Baltimore city councilwoman.
The Maryland Court of Appeals upheld lower court decisions to dismiss charges against District 8 councilwoman Helen Holton.
Political reporter Pat Warren has reaction from Holton.
In the heat of the City Hall scandal involving then-mayor Sheila Dixon, West Baltimore councilwoman Helen Holton was charged with accepting $12,000 from developers John Paterakis and Ronald Lipscomb in exchange for votes on their Harbor East projects.
The Circuit Court dismissed the charge, and after two appeals and two more losses, the state is closing the case.
“I am absolutely and unequivocally overjoyed,” Holton said.
Holton and her attorney Joshua Treem talk to WJZ about the case.
Pat Warren: “What’s this experience been like for you?”
Helen Holton: “Life altering. Life altering.”
Warren: “How would you characterize the prosecution?”
Holton: ”Unrelenting persecutioners. Attempting to make something out of nothing. Taking a portion of the law out of context to support a witch hunt, and I was the victim.”
In the course of the case, Holton was stripped of her council committee chairmanship, reinstated and then stripped again.
Warren: “Would you consider asking for your chairmanship back?”
Holton: “I don’t think I should have to ask for it back. I never asked for it to be taken away. I think that will certainly be a discussion point.”
And sooner rather than later as Holton runs for re-election in September, raising the question of permanent damage to her political career.
“Permanent damage?” Holton said. “What I know is this, you can’t please all the people all the time. There will always be the naysayers if not this then for something else. I live my life by the grace of God. And now it’s time to move on. It’s time to move on.”
For the first time since 2008 there is no cloud of suspicion over Baltimore City Hall.
The court ruled that Holton’s votes as a councilwoman could not be used as evidence against her under the state’s legislative immunity law.