When the trial resumes this morning, the first witness will be Randell Finney, a Doracon employee.
Prosecutors say Finney bought gift cards on Lipscomb's behalf and delivered them to a Dixon aide. On Thursday, two prosecution witnesses testified that Dixon's office had solicited and donated gift cards on behalf of the needy.
According to a prosecution filing, Turner, during a December 2006 vacation in the Cayman Islands, called a business partner, Glenn Charlow, to remind him that Dixon's office gives gift cards to the needy at the holidays.
Charlow gave $500 worth of Target gift cards to Dixon, believing that they would be used for her church, prosecutors said. Instead, prosecutors maintained, some of the cards were given to Dixon's staff members.
Charlow told state investigators that "he would have felt that he was cheated and that the needy families of Baltimore were cheated" if Dixon had misused them, according to notes taken Friday and submitted as part of a state motion.
Defense attorneys argued that prosecutors disclosed key information about the Charlow cards "at the eleventh hour" and demanded that it not be presented to the jury.
The judge agreed, but left open the possibility that prosecutors could use Charlow to rebut any defense assertion that Dixon had mistakenly used the other gift cards.
The mayor arrived early Thursday to a courtroom packed with observers and some of her supporters. The room grew so warm that an alternate juror fainted; he later was dismissed from the case.
Dixon stepped from the courtroom during a midmorning recess and fanned herself, saying, "It is hot in there." She smiled to acknowledge supporters from the Maryland Minority Contractors Association.
The judge released a list of 72 potential witnesses, some of them likely character witnesses. They include powerful local politicians, community leaders and top City Hall aides. Among them: Democratic Rep. Elijah E. Cummings; former city Health Commissioner Joshua M. Sharfstein, now second in command at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Rev. Frank M. Reid of Bethel AME church, where the mayor worships; Dixon's close friend Edward Anthony, a city housing employee; and the mayor's daughter, Jasmine Hampton.
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