- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 30, 2009

BALTIMORE | Perjury and misconduct charges against Mayor Sheila Dixon that were dismissed from an indictment against her in an ongoing finance probe are included in a new indictment, a state prosecutor announced Wednesday.

The new indictment covers the same offenses as the original indictment, which will be dismissed, but State Prosecutor Robert Rohrbaugh noted in a news release that developer Ron Lipscomb, who once dated the mayor and was also charged in the scandal, has since pleaded guilty to a campaign-finance charge and is cooperating with prosecutors.

That could prove to be important because some charges in the original indictment were dropped when the defense claimed legislative immunity, arguing that Mrs. Dixon and City Council member Helen Holton couldn’t be charged based on their acts in office. If the new charges are based on Lipscomb’s testimony, that could help prosecutors get around legislative immunity.

Mr. Rohrbaugh said later Wednesday that he could not comment beyond what was detailed in the indictment.

Dixon attorney Arnold Weiner said in a statement that “the new charges are as flawed as those that were previously dismissed and we expect that they will meet the same fate.”

Another Dixon attorney, Dale Kelberman, said he did not know whether the new indictment was based on Lipscomb’s testimony.

“That’s one of the things we’re going to be finding out,” Mr. Kelberman said. “We’ll have to go through some new discovery and some new motions, and see where that takes us.”

Mrs. Dixon said in a statement that she remained dedicated to serving the city’s residents.

“As I have for my entire career as a public servant, I will continue to focus on the needs of the people of Baltimore,” Mrs. Dixon said. “My commitment to the city has never wavered and is as strong as ever.”

Charges in the original indictment against the mayor that were dropped included perjury and misconduct in office for failing to disclose gifts from Lipscomb. She still faced theft and misconduct charges involving gift cards meant for the poor.

The charges were the second announced in two days in the case.

On Tuesday, more charges were announced against Ms. Holton and developer and bakery magnate John Paterakis, a partner of Lipscomb’s in a Baltimore development project.

The charges against Ms. Holton involve a poll conducted for the council members that the prosecutor said was paid for by Mr. Paterakis and Lipscomb. Lipscomb pleaded guilty in June to a conspiracy count just before his bribery trial was to begin. He was accused of paying for the poll in exchange for Ms. Holton’s help securing tax breaks for the development he was building along with Mr. Paterakis.

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