Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Jurors in the federal bribery trial against State Senator Ulysses Currie heard from his closest ally Thursday.
Derek Valcourt explains how defense attorneys are hoping Senator Currie’s wife can help their case.
His wife testified she filled out his state ethics forms and blames herself for the legal troubles he now faces.
The Rev. Shirley Gravely-Currie walked to the federal courthouse holding hands with her embattled husband, hoping her testimony could convince jurors not to convict Prince George’s County State Senator Ulysses Currie.
The former chair of the state’s powerful Budget and Taxation Committee faces charges that he accepted nearly a quarter of a million dollars in bribes from grocery giant Shoppers Food in exchange for using his political power to benefit the grocery chain.
Currie’s consulting for Shoppers was perfectly legal, according to his defense attorneys who argue the 74-year-old never used his political power on the grocery chain’s behalf — though they do acknowledge that he failed to disclose his work for the grocery chain as required on state ethics forms.
And that mistake his wife told jurors was her fault.
Gravely-Currie testified because her husband was unorganized and messy, she did all the paperwork in their household– including filling out her husband’s ethics forms.
“I was copying the (ethics form) from the year before and I certainly didn’t think I was doing anything wrong,” Gravely-Currie said.
Calling the omissions a mistake, she ended her testimony by saying “I feel, in a way, I failed him. In a time when he should be enjoying the golden years, he is fighting for his integrity. If I were more diligent, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
But prosecutors pointed out to jurors that making sure the ethics forms were complete and accurate was Senator Currie’s legal responsibility, not his wife’s.
Closing arguments in the case are expected Wednesday.