Defense attorneys for Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold, who is fighting accusations that he used his police security detail for personal and political gain, clashed with prosecutors Wednesday, as the defense asked a judge to dismiss the criminal charges or split them for multiple trials.

Lawyer Bruce L. Marcus told Judge Dennis M. Sweeney the charges are unconstitutionally vague or do not say what rules or laws Leopold is charged with violating. He also argued that a charge of misappropriation of funds is "simply the wrong offense" because Leopold neither holds nor disburses funds.

Prosecutors maintained that the details are in the indictment on four counts of misconduct in office and one of fraudulent misappropriation, and in thousands of pages of evidence they have given to the defense.

Some arguments focused on whether it mattered what an official allegedly was doing when the security detail brought him to a location and waited — lunching with a friend versus having a sexual encounter in a car — with Leopold accused of the latter.

Marcus contended that there wasn't enough of a basis for criminal charges because the allegations and the circumstances that prosecutors were basing them on were so vague.

Senior State Prosecutor Shelly S. Glenn said that "maybe [the average citizen] can go play kissy-kissy in your car with a paramour, and it's perfectly lawful." But, she argued, the police officers' role was to keep people away from the car Leopold was in.

Sweeney said some issues about the police detail walked a fine line on what their responsibilities entailed.

Leopold did not attend the legal arguments. Accusations against him include using the taxpayer-funded security detail to arrange sexual liaisons, investigate political adversaries, perform personal chores and take him to remove an opponent's campaign signs.

Sweeney, a retired Howard County judge who presided over former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's 2009 corruption trial, said he will rule soon after both sides give him more written arguments and other material, which are due Monday.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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