ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– The state prosecutor says Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold used police as private investigators on his political opponents.

Mike Hellgren has the newly-released files and the fallout over what some are calling illegal spying.

Some of this information is highly personal. There are questions surrounding how Leopold obtained it and whether it was an abuse of power.

WJZ obtained just some of the thick files Leopold is accused of ordering on his opponents using taxpayer-funded staff and resources.

“Not only did the county executive authorize the police department to do a search of me, but my ex-wife, my children,” Carl Snowden, Director of Office for Civil Rights at the state attorney general’s office, said.

Snowden says it further erodes trust in Leopold following a scathing indictment that he misused his power.

“This is unprecedented, and no county executive has ever done this,” he said.  “I think citizens of Anne Arundel Couny are demanding to know how extensive was this particular surveillance campaign.”

Leopold faces accusations he directed county employees to spy on the business dealings of Joanna Conti, a Democrat who ran against him in the last election in 2010.

“If these charges are true, John Leopold is not fit to hold office, and he should resign immediately,” Conti said.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) calls it illegal.

“It’s beyond appalling, and it’s a complete perversion of the political process,” David Rocah of the Maryland ACLU said.  “Compiling information about your political opponents is not official law enforcement business.”

The information included criminal information, medical information, real estate records and news reports.

And it also has the police chief under fire over concern he ordered officers to search state criminal databases on Leopold’s behalf.

“We need to know what Chief (James) Teare knew and when he knew it,” Snowden said.

“Frankly, the chief of police has a lot of answer for here,” Rocah said.

Leopold has denied any wrongdoing. He did not respond to WJZ’s request for a comment Thursday.

The ACLU announced Thursday they’ve requested even more files they believe the county executive ordered on other politicians– both Democrat and Republican– and their families.

Comments (9)
  1. Steve Wilson says:

    What is it about Republicans that they fear their opponents so much that they have to illegally use taxpayer-funded staff and resources to spy on them? Could it be that Republicans are not the good Christians they claim? Or maybe they just have more to hide from the voters!

    1. scott says:

      Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, ALL politicians do this, he just got caught because he used a police force that doesn’t like him. How do you think all this slanderous material comes out against politicians during campaigns? This is the across the board practice and to label it democrat or republican is misguided and shows a lack of knowledge about the topic.

  2. ballsohardclub says:

    Republicans are insecure & paranoid. They like little boys as pages & big boys in the men’s room. This skinny hard on with ears reminds me of a Hitler type.

  3. Heuy says:

    All politicians in the state of Maryland are crooks; some are smoother then others. Everything John Leopold violated the City Sheriff John W. Anderson is violating as we speak. Leopold just got greedy and forgot to pay off his debt to other politicians unlike John Anderson who do not make ways for his Deputies to get a raise.

  4. Kurt says:

    Why would these state police officers even do what this fool told them too ??
    The very first instance should have been reported to all levels of their command after refusal ! He is not that powerful of a politition to be feared ! The MSP is trained to be of the highest moral standard and ethics above all police departments in the state and this is a huge red flag that baltimore city is not the only law enforcement division with severe issues occurring ! And if any higher up in the MSP told these troopers to do what this old pervert said, then they need to be on the defendents chair next to him fighting for their job as well !!!

  5. ravenmaniac881 says:

    Kurt….the article says absolutely nothing about the Maryland State Police. It is anne Arundel County. Chief James Teare is now unfit to lead this department. A vote of no confidence has already been done by all the bargaining units with the Anne Arundel County Police Department. This should send a clear and concise message to both the leadership as well as the citizens of Anne Arundel County that the chief is way out of his element and needs to be removed as soon as possible. This department is continuously losing qualified officers to surrounding jurisdictions due to better pay, better working conditions and better benefits. The Anne Arundel County Police Department is understaff according to national standards. The citizens of Anne Arundel County should feel both unsafe and unprotected by this department. The Anne Arundel County Police Department has always had the “Good ole boy” system inm place and has for decades. A new chief needs to be found and found from outside the departments rank and file. Until this is done is will be same ole same ole and the citizens of Ane Arundel county will suffer the repercussions of poor government and por leadership within that said government.

  6. M.A. says:

    My son applied to the county police & he is a college grad as well as a former military Lieutenant. He was turned down & I suspect it was because he was the wrong color (white) & too smart that he would have challenged this corrupt dept.

  7. gorillaman says:

    Bunch of Republican pricks.

  8. dave says:

    Leopold looks like he fell out of an ugly tree & hit every branch on the way down.

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