By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun
7:21 PM EDT, October 18, 2011
Defense attorneys for state Sen. Ulysses S. Currie continued a theme Tuesday, calling an influential member of Congress to the stand who testified that their client is honest, but hopelessly disorganized.
U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the second highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, testified that Currie, who's on trial in federal court in Baltimore on corruption charges, is "not particularly taken with details or organization."
"He did not pay attention to details, but he did pay attention to people," Hoyer said of Currie, who is accused, along with two former executives from Shoppers Food Warehouse, of using a public-relations consulting contract to cover up a $245,000 bribery scheme that bought legislative favors for the food chain.
"He's been a friend of mine for 30 years," Hoyer said, adding that he sold his house directly to Currie when he moved from Forestville in the late 1980s.
"He was a decent, honest person of integrity," Hoyer said. "I don't think organization is his strong point."
Hoyer's testimony came a day after defense attorneys called a witness who portrayed Currie, a Prince George's County legislator, as pleasant, but not very bright.
"On the smart [scale], he's right at the bottom," Timothy F. Maloney, a lawyer and former Maryland delegate, testified Monday as the first witness for the defense. "On the nice [scale], he's right at the top."
On Tuesday, the defense team also called Thomas J. Murphy, a certified public accountant, who testified that he prepared Currie's tax returns between 2005 and 2008. The lawmaker's tax returns from 2008 show he spent $44,000 in legal fees.
When court concluded, defense attorneys were questioning Rick Rodgers, former senior vice president of merchandising at Shoppers, who is expected to resume his testimony when the trial continues Wednesday.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun