The Anne Arundel County measure that could have required County Executive John R. Leopold to repay his legal expenses was withdrawn Monday night before it came to a vote.

County Councilman Jamie Benoit, the sponsor, said he plans to let the state deal with the question of forcing public officials to repay taxpayers when a politician's actions put the government on the losing end of a lawsuit.

The withdrawn legislation by Benoit, a Democrat from Crownsville, was similar to a state bill proposed by Sen. Bryan Simonaire, a Republican from Pasadena.

After weeks of public pressure, Leopold has promised, with caveats, to reimburse the public if found guilty in a sex discrimination case. The tab for his private attorneys has cost taxpayers at least $40,000 since August.

In withdrawing the bill, Benoit also said he was swayed by a legal memo that pointed to conflicts with a state law that provides for a defense of public officials. Benoit said he would revisit the issue.

ecox@baltsun.com