Sun coverage: Dixon on trial

First day of Dixon trial

Dixon arrives at the entrance. (Baltimore Sun photo by Jed Kirschbaum / November 9, 2009)

Sun coverage: Dixon on trial


The four biggest surprises so far in Dixon's trial

A third batch of cards

November 13, 2009

Defense: Dixon thought cards were meant for her

Mayor Sheila Dixon's lead attorney told jurors in her criminal theft case Thursday that Dixon spent gift cards donated by city developers for one simple reason: She thought they were meant as gifts for her.

November 13, 2009

From Dixon's lawyer comes an early shot across Lipscomb's bow

It's just one of the giant white binders that Mayor Sheila Dixon's lawyers keep at hand on the defense table, their way of organizing documents for her trial, but it's apparently the most important one.

November 13, 2009

The Talk

Laura Vozzella: Nothing says 'I love you' like an anonymous envelope of gift cards

Now here's a courting ritual perfect for a big-city mayor: Leave $1,000 in Target and Best Buy gift cards in a plain envelope -- no note, no name -- at her office in City Hall.

November 13, 2009

Dan Rodricks: Defense message: Dixon cares

The lawyers defending Mayor Sheila Dixon in her trial on theft charges will attempt to convince the jury -- the one in the courtroom and the much bigger one out here in the rain -- that that the only pattern of behavior in the case was a pattern of caring for the poor, of generosity and charity. You wait and see. It's coming up.

1:00 PM EST, November 12, 2009

Potenial witnesses in Dixon trial

An alphabetical list of the 72 potential witnesses in Mayor Dixon's theft trial

November 12, 2009

Spotlight turns on new evidence in Dixon case

Revelations that a third city developer might have donated gift cards to Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon are more likely to cause political damage than legal harm, observers said.

3:20 AM EST, November 11, 2009


In Dixon case, Developer C might lead to Pastor A

Yet another man in Sheila Dixon's life could wind up getting hauled into court.

November 11, 2009

Gift cards to Dixon from 3rd developer alleged

The jury of nine women and three men selected for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's criminal theft trial will begin work Thursday morning, but first a judge will weigh new allegations involving another batch of gift cards said to have been donated by a developer not previously named in the case.

November 11, 2009

Picking Baltimore mayor's jury: Yes, get around race issue, but how?

I met someone at a party once, and when he told me where he worked, I asked if he knew this friend of a friend who also worked there. Mike Somebody, I said, an Asian guy.

November 11, 2009

In unusual move, state employs jury consultant

The Maryland State Prosecutor enlisted a private consultant to help select the jury that will weigh the theft charges against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, a potentially costly move that is unusual for prosecutors in criminal cases.

November 10, 2009

Dixon theft trial opens with plea of not guilty

Mayor Sheila Dixon stood before a judge for the first time Monday, the beginning of a long day of jury selection in her criminal theft trial that will resume this morning.

November 10, 2009

Impressions of court: Dixon's 4-inch heels, sense of inevitability

After watching Mayor Sheila Dixon stand for four hours straight at the judge's bench, next to the mostly male lawyers prosecuting her and those defending her, I thought of that famous line about Ginger Rogers.

November 10, 2009

Dan Rodricks: Mayor Schaefer kept it clean during dirty times

The irony is 7-foot-2 and made of bronze: A statue of William Donald Schaefer goes up along the Inner Harbor promenade just a week or so before the current mayor of Baltimore goes on trial, accused of stealing gift cards intended for the needy. What a town!

November 9, 2009

1st act of Dixon trial: jury selection

Today begins the process of choosing 12 Baltimore residents who will decide whether or not their mayor is a criminal.

November 8, 2009

Reading between the lines of the Dixon indictment

Dec. 21, 2006, was a long and busy day for then-City Council President Sheila Dixon.

November 8, 2009

After nearly 4-year probe, Baltimore mayor to get day in court

It was a day packed with official events for Mayor Sheila Dixon: approving millions of dollars in contracts at a Board of Estimates meeting, holding a news conference to urge parents to vaccinate their children against swine flu, pushing health care reform at a town hall meeting, surprising a Baltimore school with a visit, even playing bingo at a senior center that she had fought to keep open.

November 8, 2009

The charges, possible penalties Dixon faces

What the mayor faces
These are the charges, and possible penalties, that Mayor Sheila Dixon faces at her trial beginning Monday:

November 6, 2009

Waiting to learn who pays Dixon's legal bills

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's legal bills, racked up during a years-long corruption probe that has led her to enlist seven criminal defense attorneys for a theft trial next week, could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, legal observers say.

November 21, 2009

Dixon jurors feeling the heat

Baltimore jurors deciding whether to convict Mayor Sheila Dixon on theft-related charges signaled Friday for the second straight day that deliberations have been tense. They left the courthouse before reaching a verdict and will return Monday for a third day of debate.

November 25, 2009

Jury gives no signs of a direction

The Baltimore jury deliberating the theft case against Mayor Sheila Dixon has met for about 25 hours -- nearly as long as testimony presented in the trial -- and is to return this morning to begin its fifth day.

November 24, 2009

Jury reports it is making 'progress'

Jurors in Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's theft and embezzlement trial are heading into a fourth day of deliberations today but reported Monday that they were making "progress."

December 8, 2009

Charity event tied to Dixon case disbanded

The Baltimore housing department holiday charity event at the heart of three criminal charges against Mayor Sheila Dixon has been discontinued, city officials said Monday.

Dixon trial maneuvers' effects disputed

November 30, 2009

Dixon trial maneuvers' effects disputed

When jurors resume deliberations this morning in Mayor Sheila Dixon's theft trial, so will area attorneys.

Closings set today in Dixon case

November 19, 2009

Closings set today in Dixon case

Jurors are set to hear closing arguments today in the criminal theft trial of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon - without ever having heard from Dixon herself.

December 1, 2009

Maryland politicians and their legal troubles

1974: Baltimore County Executive Dale Anderson, a Democrat, is convicted on 32 counts of extortion, conspiracy and tax evasion.

A Sun snapshot: Should Dixon stay?

December 6, 2009

A Sun snapshot: Should Dixon stay?

In the market and at the bus stop, over glasses of wine and under the barber's clippers, the daily rhythm of life in Baltimore has been interrupted by a question reverberating through many a conversation: Should Mayor Sheila Dixon, convicted of embezzlement, continue to run the city?

November 20, 2009

Dixon's fate in jurors' hands

Twelve Baltimore residents are now deciding the fate of Mayor Sheila Dixon, who stands accused of five criminal charges involving theft or embezzlement of gift cards. The jurors deliberated for about four hours Thursday, sending the judge several questions before the end of the day.

December 4, 2009

Dixon voices regret for city's 'ordeal'

Mayor Sheila Dixon said on Thursday that she felt deep regret for the "ordeal" her just-concluded criminal trial inflicted on Baltimore, but did not apologize for embezzling gift cards intended for the needy.

December 1, 2009

Amid hints of gridlock, Dixon jury to press on

Jurors in the theft trial of Sheila Dixon signaled Monday that they were stymied on one or more charges against the Baltimore mayor, then abruptly changed course and asked the judge to let them resume deliberations this morning.

December 5, 2009

Dixon likely to seek new trial

Mayor Sheila Dixon's attorneys signaled Friday that they plan to ask for a new trial in her gift card misappropriation case, while the state prosecutor said he would not "at this time" retry the one count that hung the jury this week.

December 2, 2009

Found guilty, fate in doubt

Mayor Sheila Dixon was found guilty Tuesday of embezzling about $500 in retail gift cards meant for charity, a misdemeanor conviction that could end her tenure as Baltimore's first woman mayor. The Maryland Constitution calls for removing elected officials from office when they are sentenced for a crime related to their public duties, and questions swirled about how long Dixon can continue to lead the city.

December 2, 2009

What they're saying about Dixon conviction

• "The city will continue to move forward. We won't miss a step."

December 3, 2009

Dixon keeps low profile after conviction

A day after being convicted of embezzling gift cards for the needy, Mayor Sheila Dixon kept a low profile, remaining for hours at City Hall and ducking reporters' questions at her only public event late in the afternoon.

January 6, 2010

Dixon talks of trial, legacy

On the eve of a court hearing that might represent her best chance of remaining in office, a reflective Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon said the prospect of stepping down is "not the best feeling" and that she regrets an affair with a developer that she believes led to her legal troubles.

December 30, 2009

5 Dixon jurors recalled as witnesses

Five of the 12 jurors who convicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon of embezzling retail gift cards this month have been asked to return to court - this time, as witnesses.

Dixon convicted of embezzlement

5:20 PM EST, December 1, 2009

Dixon convicted of embezzlement

Jurors in the theft trial of Sheila Dixon convicted the Baltimore mayor Tuesday on a single charge of taking gift cards intended for the city's poor.

December 1, 2009

Key developments in the case against Dixon

Here's how the legal issues for Mayor Sheila Dixon have unfolded over the years:

November 23, 2009

Waiting for the jury

Day 3 - and Hour 12 - of jury deliberations in Mayor Sheila Dixon's theft trial are scheduled to begin this morning, and the waiting will resume.

January 7, 2010

Career built on grit and empathy ends

Sheila Dixon's natural instinct has always been to fight. She battled to become City Council president, and, later, mayor of Baltimore. She attained the office in 2007 after a decade of preparation.

Jurors head for long weekend

November 26, 2009

Jurors head for long weekend

Judge Dennis M. Sweeney bid the jurors in Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's theft case farewell for a four-day holiday break Wednesday after rejecting repeated requests by defense lawyers for a mistrial.

January 9, 2010

Dixon says Lipscomb lied about gifts

Two days after pleading guilty to perjury and announcing she would resign from office, Mayor Sheila Dixon on Friday lashed out at the former boyfriend and developer whose lavish gifts to her contributed to her downfall.

February 5, 2010

Dixon remains unapologetic, silent to the end

Sheila Dixon sat silently in court Thursday during her final hours as mayor of Baltimore, receiving a scolding from a judge who said she was leaving office "in total disgrace" after stealing gift cards intended for needy families and would carry a "badge of dishonor" for the rest of her life.

February 4, 2010

Dixon takes time to contemplate

The guest of honor moved through the restaurant in a black suit and pumps, surrounded by colleagues, well-wishers and staff members angling for a moment with the boss.

February 3, 2010

Scathing memo backs Dixon deal

The Maryland state prosecutor released a scathing memo Tuesday supporting the plea deal that will lead Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon to step down Thursday, calling her attitude "unrepentant" and "laughable."

February 25, 2010

In public return, Dixon dwells on achievements

Three weeks after resigning as mayor in a cloud of scandal, Sheila Dixon was back in the spotlight Wednesday night.

February 3, 2010

The work we did

My final full day in office begins like my first -- full of hope for Baltimore City. I love this city and leave City Hall after 23 years in public service secure in the knowledge that Baltimore's best days are ahead. It has been a privilege to serve the people of this great city, but it is time now for me to move on and begin a new chapter in my life.

October 6, 2009

Dixon may get 2 trials

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon should stand trial on charges that she perjured herself by not disclosing gifts from a developer boyfriend, a judge ruled Monday as he rebuffed objections from the mayor's defense team that the accusations rest on faulty evidence.

October 1, 2009

Charges against Dixon are divided for two trials

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon could have two separate criminal trials, defense attorneys announced yesterday, saying that the theft and perjury indictments will not be combined.

September 22, 2009

Dixon inquiry notes 'unexplained cash'

Investigators with the State Prosecutor's Office found that Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon made $13,800 in "unexplained cash" deposits in a six-week period during the spring of 2004, one of many details to emerge in a mammoth court filing that raises questions about Dixon's financial dealings as City Council president.

September 17, 2009

Prosecutors ordered to hand over 2 subpoenas in Dixon case

Defense lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon won a legal victory Wednesday morning when a judge ordered state prosecutors to hand over two subpoenas that a grand jury had issued in the City Hall corruption probe.

September 9, 2009

Dixon lawyers ask dismissal of new charges

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's lawyers say that the new criminal charges brought against her by the state prosecutors rely on faulty evidence and a vaguely worded city ethics statute and should be dismissed, according to court papers filed Tuesday.

September 2, 2009

Dixon lawyers seek review of all grand jury subpoenas in case

Lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon continued a legal quarrel with state prosecutors and filed new papers Tuesday aimed at forcing the state to turn over all grand jury subpoenas issued since January when the mayor was first charged with perjury and theft.

August 21, 2009

Dixon defense outlines strategy

Attorneys for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon gave the first hints about how they will defend against charges that Dixon stole gift cards intended for needy families, arguing in documents filed this week that prosecutors will have to prove she knew the cards she was spending were purchased by developers and not someone else."One of the principal issues at the trial of this case will be ... whether the defendant knew which gift cards came from which party," Dixon attorney Dale P. Kelberman wrote in a Baltimore Circuit Court motion.

August 6, 2009

Dixon to go on trial Nov. 9, plead not guilty

Mayor Sheila Dixon will go to trial Nov. 9 on charges of theft and perjury, and plans to enter a not-guilty plea, according to her lawyers.

July 30, 2009

Dixon faces new charges

A Baltimore grand jury handed up two new indictments Wednesday charging Mayor Sheila Dixon with nine criminal counts and painting a picture of a top city official who repeatedly sought gifts - and even cash - from local developers who stood to benefit from her favor.

August 4, 2009

Baltimore political leaders eager for Dixon's problems to be resolved

The new indictments issued last week in the City Hall corruption probe have some Baltimore political leaders impatient for resolution to a case that has spanned three years and left the city's reputation in limbo.

July 31, 2009

New charges against Dixon mean more time

The new criminal indictments handed up Wednesday against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon guarantee one thing: The legal questions that have been hanging over the mayor for the past three years will not be settled by September, when a jury trial on the original charges was scheduled.

July 10, 2009

3 subpoenas are withdrawn in Dixon case

Three subpoenas for witnesses in the criminal case against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon were withdrawn Thursday after her attorneys objected to the legal move by the state prosecutor.

July 9, 2009

Dixon seeks to block subpoenas

Attorneys for Mayor Sheila Dixon have moved to block the state prosecutor's attempt to get additional information from one current and one former city employee he has called to testify before a grand jury.

May 29, 2009

Dixon scores significant legal victory

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon won a significant legal victory Thursday when a Circuit Court judge dismissed four perjury charges and one misconduct charge against her, saying they were based on improper evidence. Dixon still faces seven other criminal charges, including theft.

April 17, 2009

Prosecutor defends Dixon case

State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh defended Thursday the indictment he brought against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and asserted in court papers that a jury needs to decide if Dixon falsified ethics forms and stole gift cards intended for needy Baltimore families.

April 3, 2009

Dixon's lawyers move to dismiss charges

Lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon are seeking to dismiss criminal charges against her, calling a lengthy investigation into her activities a "misguided mission" by a state prosecutor that ended with a "hopelessly confused" 12-count indictment, according to court documents filed Thursday.

March 27, 2009

Dixon corruption case could expand

The City Hall corruption case against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and other officials could widen to include additional development projects, one of several fresh details revealed Thursday when prosecutors and defense attorneys met in open court for the first time.

March 11, 2009

Dixon's trial on theft, perjury charges could be in Sept.

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's trial on theft, perjury and misuse-of-office charges could be held in early September, a Circuit Court judge ruled yesterday after meeting for the first time with prosecutors and defense attorneys.

February 20, 2009

Dixon's invitation to White House abruptly withdrawn

After being invited yesterday to join more than 70 mayors for a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House today, indicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon was abruptly un-invited hours later, according to her spokesman.

February 4, 2009

Dixon keeping focus on city

Mayor Sheila Dixon joined a police task force visiting the homes of gun offenders in Baltimore yesterday, a demonstration that she was focusing on her job hours after the first hearing on the criminal charges she faces.

January 15, 2009

Dixon defense gets support from city Law Department

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's legal defense received a boost yesterday from the city Law Department, less than a week after her indictment on public corruption charges.

January 13, 2009

Dixon and Holton get back to work

The City Council and Mayor Sheila Dixon returned to business yesterday, but the reverberations from last week's indictments of the mayor and Councilwoman Helen L. Holton contributed to an uneasy tone.

January 11, 2009

It's business as usual for Dixon a day after indictment

A day after becoming the first Baltimore mayor to be indicted, Mayor Sheila Dixon maintained a public schedule designed to show her steely backbone and close connections with the community - donning boxing gloves at a gym in West Baltimore and later giving heartfelt advice to underprivileged girls at a Boys and Girls Club in Brooklyn.

January 4, 2009

As grand jury expires, City Hall probe at crossroads

With the latest grand jury examining Baltimore City Hall corruption allegations expiring at the end of the week, observers say the nearly three-year-long probe hanging over Mayor Sheila Dixon is approaching a pivotal moment.

October 2, 2008

New subpoenas issued in Dixon case

The state prosecutor's office has issued a fresh round of subpoenas seeking information about four development projects, the latest chapter in a long-running probe focused at least in part on gifts Mayor Sheila Dixon received from a developer who received tax breaks from the city.

October 3, 2008

A scramble for documents

Some City Council members are scrambling to provide documents to satisfy the latest demand for information by state prosecutors who want to know about four development projects related to a probe into City Hall spending.

June 18, 2008

State raids mayor's home

Maryland state prosecutors raided the home of Mayor Sheila Dixon yesterday as part of an investigation into past spending practices at City Hall, the most aggressive move so far in the years-long probe.

June 20, 2008

Probe includes Dixon's furs

State prosecutors are looking for Mayor Sheila Dixon's fur coats and have been seeking information on gifts she received from people doing business with the city, new lines of inquiry in the probe of City Hall contracts involving her friends.

June 21, 2008

Ex-Dixon spokesman receives subpoena

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's former spokesman, a longtime confidant who helped establish the administration's public message, has been subpoenaed in the state prosecutor's widening probe of City Hall, The Sun learned yesterday.

June 24, 2008

Dixon gifts probed

Prosecutors are investigating whether Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon received thousands of dollars in gifts - including fur coats - from a prominent developer whose projects benefited from tax breaks and zoning changes she supported as City Council president, a document obtained by The Sun shows.

June 26, 2008

Dixon angered over leaks in case

Mayor Sheila Dixon lashed out at prosecutors and reporters yesterday in her first comments since acknowledging having a personal relationship with a developer at the same time that she voted on contracts that benefited his company.

June 27, 2008

Probe may turn on taxes

State prosecutors have subpoenaed records from the Maryland comptroller's office, suggesting that the long-standing investigation into City Hall might involve state taxes.

February 21, 2006

Contract presents questions for Dixon

One of the Baltimore contracts that prompted an ethics review of City Council President Sheila Dixon was the subject of contentious hearings in 2004 and 2005 that involved accusations of bid steering.

March 16, 2006

Dixon probe begins

State prosecutors have opened an investigation into the Baltimore City Council's computer services contract, ordering city officials to turn over documents detailing how and why the city paid $600,000 to Council President Sheila Dixon's friend for six years.

June 19, 2008

More subpoenas in Dixon probe

A day after investigators raided Mayor Sheila Dixon's home, more city employees received subpoenas in what appears to be an accelerating investigation into City Hall spending practices.

June 25, 2008

Dixon funds linked to firms

Companies linked to a developer questioned in the state investigation of Mayor Sheila Dixon have made nearly $500,000 in political contributions in the past decade, state campaign finance records show.

October 22, 2003

Dixon sets date to fire her sister as city aide

Baltimore City Council President Sheila Dixon struck a more conciliatory tone yesterday on ethics issues as she set a date for firing her sister, a move intended to address concerns about the "appearance of nepotism in city government."

April 21, 2009

Dixon defense reiterates that charges are flawed

Defense lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon reinforced their arguments Monday that the 12 criminal offenses against the mayor should be dropped, with her lawyers insisting that four perjury charges are based on "a fundamental misreading" of the city's ethics code.

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