Prosecutor Subpoenas Three Officers Before Grand Jury in Leopold Probe


… Officers expected to appear before a grand jury in Annapolis …


By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun

12:03 PM EDT, March 18, 2011

Three police officers assigned to the security detail for Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold have been subpoenaed by the state prosecutor’s office to appear before a grand jury in Annapolis today, according to a source close to the investigation.

State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt’s office has been investigating whether Leopold misused government resources by directing his county-funded detail to work for his recent re-election campaign. Davitt declined to comment this morning.

Michael J. Belsky, an attorney for the county police union who is representing the officers, declined to comment this morning inside the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court building. “I can’t talk about this right now,” Belsky said.

The subpoenaed officers are two full-timers Cpl. Howard Brown and Cpl. Mark Walker as well as Cpl. Joseph Pazulski, who works on the detail part-time, according to a source.

State prosecutors served Leopold with a subpoena Wednesday, according to his spokesman. The subpoena seeks the county executive’s schedule from 2008 to the present.

The subpoena also requires Leopold, a Republican who was re-elected last year, to answer questions regarding the schedule — but does not demand that he appear before a grand jury, said Leopold spokesman Dave Abrams.

“We believe the request will be satisfied by providing the schedule,” Abrams said. He said “the county executive is responding to any and all requests from the state prosecutor’s office,” and the information would be forwarded to the prosecutor’s office “as soon as possible.”

The investigation has focused so far on a pair of alleged incidents involving Leopold’s security detail. According to those who say they were interviewed by investigators, Leopold allegedly directed members of the security detail to pick up a campaign contribution check and to remove a political challenger’s campaign signs.

Anne Arundel and most large jurisdictions provide taxpayer-funded security details to its executives and mayors. Government employees generally are prohibited by law from carrying out campaign activities while on the job.

Leopold has acknowledged that his security detail carried out tasks for him as he was recuperating from two back surgeries last year. But he called the allegations of impropriety “political retaliation,” following a recent change he initiated to the county’s binding arbitration agreement between the county and its public safety employees.

Craig Oldershaw, the head of the county firefighters union, and Joanna L. Conti, a Democrat who lost to Leopold in November, said in interviews earlier this week that they had been contacted by an investigator from the state prosecutor’s office about the county executive’s use of his security detail.

Oldershaw said a member of Leopold’s detail picked up a $4,000 check for Leopold’s campaign from him in late September of last year.

Copyright © 2011, The Baltimore Sun

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