Dixon says Lipscomb lied about gifts

Baltimore Sun reporter

Two days after pleading guilty to perjury and announcing she would resign from office, Mayor Sheila Dixon on Friday lashed out at the former boyfriend and developer whose lavish gifts to her contributed to her downfall.

But, a legal expert warns that she is risking a plea agreement she entered into by venting.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Dixon refused to admit wrongdoing despite tendering her resignation Wednesday, effective Feb. 4, as part of a plea deal in her criminal trial.

Instead she accused developer Ronald H. Lipscomb - who told a grand jury he gave Dixon cash, fur coats, trips and other gifts during their brief romance - of lying to prosecutors to protect himself.

Dixon admitted receiving items from Lipscomb while they were dating in late 2003 and early 2004. She was charged with perjury for not reporting those gifts as required by city law. She told the AP that the gifts didn't amount to much.

The mayor labeled Lipscomb, "a player," who had "multiple girlfriends," and added that prosecutors "scared him into lying" about the amount of gifts and money.

Doug Colbert, law professor at the University of Maryland, said Dixon may be playing with fire.

"I think a judge will always consider a defendant's remorse and accountability in sentencing a person and determining whether she has complied with the terms of her probation," Colbert said.

"It's a bold statement to suggest her nonculpability. If the context is that she would have chosen to become involved in a different relationship, that's understandable," Colbert explained. "But it is very important for people who have entered a plea of guilty or been convicted to acknowledge their wrongdoing."

Contacted via cell phone, Dixon declined to repeat any of the remarks she made to the AP. She said she was busy working on the transition.

"I can't talk anymore about it. The AP called, he caught me at a moment," she said. "My mental state is not right there now."

Lipscomb's attorney, Gerard P. Martin, denied that his client lied to prosecutors and called the mayor's assertions, "way off base."

"She's [Dixon] got it wrong. Lipscomb never told the prosecutor he gave her all the money," Martin said.

"I understand her consternation at everything that happened, and I can understand her need to lash out," Martin said. "But she has to get her facts right before she lashes out."

Baltimore Sun reporter Annie Linskey and wire services contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad