Reporting Pat Warren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A judge decided Monday to take his time to decide whether or not to dismiss bribery charges against a Maryland state senator.
Political reporter Pat Warren has the latest.
It’s been another day of hearing motions as a preliminary to a trial on which Senator Ulysses Currie and two Shoppers Food Warehouse former executives stand trial for bribery.
In May 2008, the FBI swooped in on the home of State Senator Ulysses Currie and the office of Shoppers Food, armed with a warrant and allegations that Currie used his political muscle as chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee to push legislation favorable to the Shoppers Food chain.
“They went through the house room by room,” Currie said.
Did he trade influence for income? Federal prosecutors say yes, that Currie used his position in public office in exchange for nearly a quarter million dollars, and that’s a bribe.
Currie arrived at federal court Monday, hoping to have federal charges dismissed. He had no comment but has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation.
“Feeling upset is kind of—I don’t want to say it’s a waste of energy, but I need to focus on my family, my child, continue to focus on my constituents,” Currie said.
Currie has resigned his chairmanship on that committee since his indictment. On May 11, the government dropped several corruption charges but argued against the defense motion to drop bribery charges Monday.
The defense claims there’s no clear definition of official duty for Maryland lawmakers and Currie believed he was acting as an independent consultant. While there may have been a conflict of interest, there was no bribe.
The prosecution refutes that and the judge says he will have a ruling as soon as possible.
The senator was first indicted back in September 2010. The trial date is Sept. 26.