3 charged in Maryland IT contract bribery plead not guilty

Three people charged in a bribery case involving millions of dollars of state IT contracts under Gov. Martin O'Malley pleaded not guilty in federal court Friday.

The case involves an alleged scheme by Isabel FitzGerald, a senior official in O’Malley’s administration credited with fixing the state’s Obamacare exchange, to personally profit from state IT deals.

FitzGerald was scheduled to appear in court Friday, but was not there. She is now due to come in later in the month, when her lawyer said she’ll enter a not guilty plea. The reason for the delay was not clear.

A man with whom federal prosecutors say FitzGerald had a personal relationship, Kenneth Coffland, and two officials at an Indiana technology company, Stephen Maudlin and James Pangallo, were also charged in the case.

Prosecutors say the scheme dated back to 2011 and involved FitzGerald using her influence at what was then the state’s Department of Human Resources to steer subcontracts to the Indiana company. She and the other man were then paid a third of the profits, which were funneled by companies they set up in an attempt to mask the deals, prosecutors say.

Coffland, Maudlin and Pangallo sat with their lawyers in front of a federal magistrate for the brief hearing Friday. They each rose and entered not guilty pleas.

The men and their lawyers declined to comment after the hearing.

FitzGerald became secretary of the Department of Information Technology in August 2013. The indictment filed against her says the conspiracy continued through that period, but doesn’t lay out any specific allegations against her after she took the job.

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