- The Washington Times - Friday, January 9, 2009

BREAKING NEWS:

A Baltimore grand jury indicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon Friday on charges of theft, perjury, and misconduct stemming from her romantic relationship with a Baltimore developer.

The state prosecutor’s office charged Ms. Dixon with four counts of theft, alleging she used gift cards donated for needy families to buy presents for herself around the Christmas season every year from 2004 to 2007.

Ms. Dixon, a prominent black Democrat who in 2007 was elected the city’s first female mayor, was also charged with four counts of perjury for not documenting gifts from two developers doing business with the city.

Ms. Dixon said she would not step down as mayor and defended herself Friday afternoon.

“I am being unfairly accused,” Ms. Dixon said in a statement. “Time will prove that I have done nothing wrong, and I am confident that I will be found innocent of these charges.”

State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh, who was appointed by former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in 2005, said it was an ethics law introduced by Miss Dixon which helped ensnare her.

“Baltimore City has enacted laws which are intended to assure public trust will not be violated,” Maryland State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh said in a statement. “Such laws are not to be ignored by the very officials who have enacted them.”

Ms. Dixon submitted a change in the city’s ethics code in 2003 to bar elected officials from receiving any gift from anyone doing business with the city.

The state prosecutors office, an independent state agency tasked with investigating public corruption, announced the indictment on its web site Friday, two days after securing indictments againt one of Ms. Dixon’s allies on the Baltimore City Council and against her brief love interest: Ronald H. Lipscomb.

The indictment also makrs the third black Democrat the state prosecutor’s office has indicted this week, after filing charges against Baltimore County Councilman Kenneth Oliver Monday, Mrs. Holton Wednesday and Miss Dixon Friday.

Maryland Republicans seized on the round of corruption charges against Democrats this week.

Earlier this year I said that the question was not whether the next scandal would occur but when, said Maryland Republican Party Chairman Jim Pelura in a statement. Once again the culture of corruption is rearing its head amongst Maryland Democrat politicians.

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