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Judge Could Dismiss Misconduct Charges Against Anne Arundel County Executive

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– Major new developments in the corruption case involving Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold. The judge has serious questions about the prosecution’s indictment.

Mike Hellgren breaks down the argument to dismiss the case.

Leopold’s lawyers admit his conduct looks bad amid allegations he had police lookouts while he had sex in the parking lot of a mall. But, they say, it does not violate any part of the county charter or come close to misconduct.

There’s a distinct possibility some or all of the misconduct charges against Leopold could be dropped.

Prosecutors contend Leopold misused his office by directing his taxpayer-funded security detail to do campaign-related business like cashing checks from donors and outrageous personal business, including preventing his mistress and live-in girlfriend from meeting each other.

But Leopold’s lawyer, Bruce Marcus, argued: “The issue is not whether people agree with the conduct, but does it violate the law?”

They say, while distasteful, there is no specific law or part of the county code telling Leopold how he can use his security detail.

“Everything that we have to say, we will do inside the courtroom,” Marcus said. “And all of our comments will be done there.”

The judge, Dennis Sweeney, took that argument seriously telling prosecutors they were walking a fine line and some of the concepts in the indictment were troubling.

After five hours of arguments, he gave both sides five more days to supplement their positions before he makes a ruling that could kill the case and clear Leopold.

“The prosecutor has had his opportunity to present his side of the story and I look forward to having the opportunity to present my side of the story,” Leopold said in an interview with WJZ in March of 2012.

Judge Sweeney can make a decision on dismissal sometime next week. He is accustomed to these high-profile cases. He was at the bench during the corruption trial of former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon.

If the case moves forward, Leopold’s trial will begin in September.

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