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Leopold Gets Day In Court; Jury Selection Starts Wednesday

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Mike Hellgren 370x278 Mike Hellgren
WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Heading to court. Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold answers allegations he misused employees and wasted taxpayer dollars.

Mike Hellgren has more on why it’s the talk of the town.

The scandal surrounding County Executive John Leopold has shaken Anne Arundel County for almost a year–and with his trial on misconduct charges about to start, a resolution is finally in sight.

The state prosecutor alleges Mr. Leopold used employees as his public servants, making his police detail carry out campaign duties and keep his lovers apart, even keep an eye out while he had sexual liaisons in parking lots. Prosecutors also say he also ordered secret files kept on his political opponents.

It’s the talk of the town.

“It’s an embarrassment for the police department. I was a policeman at one time,” said John Butler.

“It’s an embarrassment to the state of Maryland. Let him go,” said one resident.

But some are waiting for a verdict before passing judgment.

“Who knows what really happened? Let the court decide; that’s what it’s really all about,” said Ed DeCarlo, who’s lived in Anne Arundel County for over 20 years. “This is definitely something that needs to be resolved, one way or another.”

Leopold has always maintained his innocence, saying the truth will come out in court.

“I’m very confident that when all the relevant facts are known, that we will prevail,” Leopold said. “There were allegations about me before the last election and people re-elected me handily.”

Judge Dennis Sweeney will preside over this case; he’s the same judge who handled former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon’s trial.

Jury selection begins Wednesday. Leopold’s trial is expected to last through next week, with plenty paying attention to see whether the county executive will be forced from office.

“That’s not good. That’s not somebody I want in office,” said one resident.

“People who are in public office have a high standard to meet when they’re in the public eye, so I hope I can see the justice. Justice will prevail,” said Julia Erickson.

Leopold is in his second term as county executive. He served in the House of Delegates before that.

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