Prosecutor: Dixon "unrepentant" despite conviction

The Maryland State Prosecutor Tuesday released a scathing memo supporting the plea deal that will lead Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon to resign this week, calling her attitude "unrepentant" and "laughable."

The three-page memo blasted her for failing to show any public contrition after a jury in December found her guilty of embezzling roughly $500 worth of retail gift cards. Dixon in January also pleaded guilty to one count of perjury.

"It seems Ms. Dixon's unrepentant position is that the people of Baltimore should be willing to tolerate some corruption from their political leaders," wrote State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh. "Such defiant arrogance by a political leader is simply unacceptable."

Additionally, he wrote, "While the people of Baltimore are owed a full, complete and truthful explanation from their former mayor, it is probably too much to expect."

Dixon's defense attorney Arnold M. Weiner declined to comment on the court filing. Dixon did not respond to requests Tuesday for an interview.

The mayor will also have a chance to speak at a sentencing hearing in Baltimore Circuit Court Thursday. Weiner would not say whether she plans to exercise that right.

Last month, Dixon agreed to a plea deal that will allow her to expunge her criminal record and keep her $83,000 annual city pension in exchange for stepping down from office. Dixon also has to preform 500 hours of community service and donate $45,000 to charity.

Rohrbaugh wrote said that permitting Dixon keep the public pension was "difficult for everyone, including the prosecution team, to swallow."

The deal also prohibits the mayor from using any taxpayer funds to pay her legal bills from what Rohrbaugh called her "stable" of seven attorneys. He estimated that her defense costs "might well exceed a million dollars;" privately, some defense attorneys have estimated the cost could be twice that.

The memo also raised some issues that were never addressed in the mayor's theft trial, including questions about the source of what prosecutor calculated as $13,800 in unexplained cash that circulated through her checking account in early 2004 when she was dating Baltimore developer Ronald H. Lipscomb.

"Was it just a coincidence that the cash was deposited at the exact moment she needed to pay for her extravagant purchases, including those Jimmy Choo shoes?" Rohrbaugh wrote, noting the pricey designer shoes that Dixon bought while she and Lipscomb were on a trip together in Chicago. Those gift were never disclosed on Dixon's city ethics forms.

With the plea deal in place, prosecutors seem satisfied that the arrangement will allow the city to move on from the Dixon era.

"In doing so," Rohrbaugh concluded, "this defendant will finally become yesterday's news."

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