BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Former Governor Bob Ehrlich took the witness stand in federal court. He testified in the case against a powerful Maryland state lawmaker accused of accepting bribes from a grocery store.
Adam May has the latest twist.
Ehrlich referred to the defendant as a friend but said he had no idea about his relationship with the supermarket.
Maryland State Senator Ulysses Currie, a Prince George’s County Democrat and chairman of the state’s Budget and Taxation Committee, stands accused of illegally accepting a quarter million dollars from Shoppers Food Warehouse in exchange for favorable votes on legislation that would benefit the supermarket.
The defense called Ehrlich to testify. He told jurors, “In dealing with me, he was very honest.”
Ehrlich is the latest high-profile politician called as a character witness, including Congressman Elijah Cummings, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Congressman and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
Ehrlich said Currie was a trusted member of Democratic leadership.
The defense has built a case around what they describe as Currie’s ignorance and disorganization.
Currie claims he legally worked as a consultant for the supermarket chain but prosecutors allege Currie tried hiding the income by failing to report it for years. In 1995 and 2003, Currie was fined $350 by the State Ethics Commission for failing to accurately file financial disclosure forms. Prosecutors claim it shows a pattern of deception; the defense claims it was simply sloppy paperwork.
Currie’s wife is expected to take the stand Thursday. She played a key role in filling out Currie’s financial disclosure forms.
Currie faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.