Baltimore County

Currie before closed door meeting of ethics panel in Annapolis

//UPDATE: Committee members adjurouned around 5 p.m., Del. Brian McHale, the House chair of the panel, said members will meet again after session Tuesday.

//UPDATE: Currie left the hearing room around 4:30 p.m. with his attorneys. Murphy said he expects to know what the committee will do "soon."

Prince George’s County Sen. Ulysses S. Currie has been in a closed-door meeting of the legislature’s ethics committee since around noon today, marking his first appearance before the panel that will determine what, if any, sanctions he should face.

Currie arrived with retired Judge Joseph F. Murphy, who is representing him in the proceedings, along with Joe Evans, the federal public defender who represented him during his federal trial.

A federal jury found the senator not guilty of federal bribery last year in a case where he was accused of securing favors for a grocery chain in exchange for $245,000. During the case, Currie’s defense attorneys  conceded that the senator failed to include the payments on his required annual financial disclosure forms, but said the oversight was an ethical lapse that did not amount to criminal wrong-doing.

Now the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, a panel made up of six senators and six delegates, are charged with determining if the senator should be punished by the legislature. They could recommend a reprimand, censure, expulsion or nothing at all. The Senate would vote on any finding.

It is unclear how long the panel will meet and whether they will come to any conclusion today. Members stopped for one brief break around 2 p.m. The General Assembly is set to be in session at 8 p.m.

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