ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Prosecutors say a  Maryland lawmaker paid an employee of her law office with state funds after the firm’s bank account was closed.

The defense, meanwhile, said in opening remarks Tuesday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court that politics may have played part in the decision to prosecute Del. Tiffany Alston. The lawmaker opposed a redistricting plan supported by Democratic lawmakers and voted against a gay marriage bill supported by the governor.

Prosecutors and a spokeswoman for the governor denied any political motivation.

Alston, 35, is charged with theft and misconduct. Prosecutors say the employee never set foot in her legislative
office. The defense says the employee performed legislative work from the law office.

Alston also faces charges in a separate case that she used campaign funds for wedding expenses.

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


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