ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A disgraced Maryland politician wants his conviction on misconduct in office thrown out and wants the ability to run again.
Mike Hellgren has more on former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold’s appeal.
Leopold had a steep fall from grace. He went from the Anne Arundel County Executives office to jail for abusing his power, making his employees do campaign work and humiliating an assistant by having her empty urine from a catheter after surgery into a coffee jug.
Judge Dennis Sweeney called it outrageous and abusive and ordered Leopold not be eligible to hold office until his probation is over in five years.
Now Leopold’s lawyers are arguing not only should Sweeney’s conviction not stand but Leopold should be allowed to hold public office again.
Joan Harris, a whistleblower and former employee who’s suing the county over being wrongfully fired under the Leopold administration, says his fall from grace was well deserved.
“The spots on a leopard don’t change. He’s not going to change,” Harris said. “I think it would be a miscarriage of justice for John Leopold to run for office again in any capacity.”
Leopold, who just turned 71, says he’d consider running in some capacity. He still lives in Pasadena.
His lawyers argue while his conduct was boorish, it wasn’t criminal. But the state prosecutor contends Leopold got a fair trial and is fighting the disgraced politician’s attempts to change the outcome.
“The county can move on. The county executive’s office can again be an institution of public integrity, public service, rather than a den of depravity,” said one resident.
Leopold once entertained the possibility of running for governor. If the Court of Special Appeals does allow him to run again, it’s unclear what office he’d seek.
Leopold considered running for governor in 2014 but that was before his trial. If he wants to run for any county office, the deadline is Feb. 25. There’s no timeline for the three judge appeals panel and Leopold must wait for their decision first and hope it’s in his favor.
Leopold already served 30 days in jail, 30 days of house arrest, performed community service and paid a fine as punishment for misconduct.
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