Reporting Meghan McCorkell
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)– Headed to trial. A judge has ruled that charges against Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold will stand.
Meghan McCorkell has more on what this could mean for the county executive.
It was a big win for prosecutors. A judge ruled that John Leopold will stand trial for four counts of misconduct in office and one count of misuse of taxpayer money.
A judge shot down attempts to dismiss charges against County Executive John Leopold. Leopold is accused of using his security detail to drive him to sexual encounters in public parking lots and to spy on political opponents.
The county executive maintains his innocence. In an interview on March 2, the day the indictment against him was released, Leopold told WJZ, “I’m very confident that when all the relevant facts are known, that we will prevail.”
Leopold’s lawyers argued charges of misconduct in office are too vague but, in his ruling, Judge Dennis Sweeney said, “…the Court cannot conclude at this stage that it must be dismissed for being unconstitutionally vague or for not providing sufficient notice of what crimes are being charged.”
“I don’t think that the defense really had a large hope that they’d win on any of these,” said legal analyst Byron Warnken (www.warnkenlaw.com).
He says prosecutors are being meticulous.
The ruling reveals they’ve shared 90 boxes of evidence with the defense.
“The discovery the state provided here seems to be significantly more than what the state normally provides,” Warnken said.
Meantime, there’s another legal fight. The ACLU is threatening to sue Anne Arundel County for failing to release information on dossiers Leopold allegedly kept on political enemies.
“There is nothing–no law, no rule, no policy–that would prevent them from doing that,” said David Rocha, an attorney with the ACLU.
Police told the ACLU many documents could not be released because they may be evidence in the Leopold trial.
Both the county executive and his defense attorney refused to comment on this latest ruling.
Leopold’s trial is set to begin Sept. 4.