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Maryland state prosecutor who investigated political corruption cases of Dallas Dance, John Leopold to retire

Maryland state prosecutor who investigated political corruption cases of Dallas Dance, John Leopold to retire
Emmet Davitt, the Maryland state prosecutor, is shown in this photo from April 20, 2018, at Baltimore County Circuit Court in Towson. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt, who has prosecuted corrupt politicians, announced Tuesday that he is retiring later this year.

In a letter Davitt sent last week to Gov. Larry Hogan, Davitt said he would step down Aug. 1.

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“It has been a true honor and privilege to serve the people of this outstanding state during the past several years,” Davitt wrote in the letter, which his office released Tuesday morning.

Davitt, 61, said he aimed to pursue corruption and misconduct cases “vigorously, but always in a fair and nonpartisan manner.”

A State Prosecutor Selection and Disabilities Commission will nominate a replacement for the governor to appoint. Davitt’s salary is $159,433 a year.

Davitt has successfully prosecuted several elected officials, government workers and campaign workers since taking office in 2010. His notable cases include former Baltimore County schools superintendent Dallas Dance, who pleaded guilty to failing to disclose income for part-time consulting work, including payments from a company that he helped to win a no-bid contract with the school system. In April, Dance received a sentence of six months in jail.

Davitt also prosecuted John Leopold, the former Anne Arundel County executive, who was found guilty of two counts of misconduct in office in 2013. Leopold was accused of forcing his office staff and police detail to carry out personal and campaign tasks. He served 30 days in jail.

Gov. Larry Hogan praised Davitt in a statement.

“We were privileged to partner with him on important efforts to root out corruption, including in our correctional system, and I wish him the very best in his future endeavors,” said Hogan, a Republican.

The State Prosecutor Selection and Disabilities Commission has vacancies that need to be filled before the replacement process can begin, according to Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Hogan.

Davitt’s retirement is the third significant departure from the Office of the State Prosecutor in the last few years. Deputy State Prosecutor Thomas “Mike” McDonough, who spent 33 years in the office, retired last year. James Cabezas, the office’s chief investigator, retired in 2017.

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