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Currie Appears Before Maryland Ethics Panel

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — State Sen. Ulysses Currie appeared for several hours Monday before the Maryland General Assembly’s joint ethics panel, which is considering the Prince George’s County senator’s failure to disclose work for a grocery store chain.

Currie, a Democrat, appeared before the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics during a closed-door meeting with retired Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr., who has agreed to be Currie’s counsel before the panel. Joseph Evans, Currie’s lawyer in the federal bribery case last year in which the senator was acquitted of all charges, also appeared with Currie.

As Murphy and Currie left the hearing, Murphy said he believes the committee will issue a decision soon. Lawmakers on the panel declined to comment about what happened during the hearing.

Delegate Brian McHale, who co-chairs the committee, said only that the panel is scheduled to meet again Tuesday.

The panel is examining Currie’s failure to disclose more than $245,000 in payments he received from Shoppers Food Warehouse between 2003 and 2008.

If the committee decides to recommend sanctions, they will become public once they are forwarded to the Senate for a vote.

Sanctions could include reprimand, censure or expulsion. The committee has not recommended sanctions against a lawmaker since the expulsion of Baltimore Sen. Larry Young in 1998 for allegedly using his office to secure business from health care firms for his private corporations.

The committee has six members from the House of Delegates and six from the Senate.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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