LIVE BLOG: The Leopold Trial — Day 2

| January 22, 2013 | 11 Comments

Today is the second day of testimony in the trial of Anne Arundel County Executive, John R. Leopold, who was indicted in March on four counts of misconduct in office and one count of fraudulent misappropriation. The indictment alleged that Leopold used his executive security detail for personal and political gain. He has pleaded not guilty. Leopold has opted to be tried by retired Judge Dennis M. Sweeney, a retired Howard County Circuit Court Judge. Sweeney also presided over the trial of former Baltimore Mayor, Sheila Dixon.

This is a live blog and commentary will be updated as it happens in the courtroom. There is no need to refresh the page. The trial will get underway at 9:00am.

This live blog (and future ones) will be factually correct; however, it will be presented casually as commentary with heavy doses of opinion, humor, and even a little bit of snark.  For traditional reporting of the trial, we recommend that you check out the stories from Allison Bourg of the Capital Gazette and Anna Staver of the Annapolis Patch.

You are on Twitter…right? If not you should be. Please follow us (and others) on Twitter. The hashtag for the trial is #leopold.  Other media representatives covering the trial are also tweeting and you might as well follow them too. @abourg_capital, @annapolispatch, @melserwbal, @johnaaromwtop, @annyswapo, @amaxsmith, @jlepolastewart, @cherylconner, and @annapolisscott.

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John Frenaye January 22, 20134:33 pm

Court adjourned till 9:00am tomorrow. Erik Robey still on stand being questioned by prosecution.

John Frenaye January 22, 20134:25 pm

Interesting tidbit. It is the one year anniversary of the Grand Jury testimonies. Happy Anniversary!

John Frenaye January 22, 20134:15 pm

Erik Robey testified that in 2010 he told Leopold that it would be a good idea to hire a few college kids and pay them a few thousand to put up signs.

John Frenaye January 22, 20133:04 pm

Brown still being cross examined. Admits to making two contributions to campaign including in 2010 days before the fundraiser where he previously testified he was told to guard a cash box.

John Frenaye January 22, 20132:32 pm

Brown admits that he was aware that Leopold’s significant other (Judy Miller) was in Maine during hospital stay. This debunks the allegation that police were called in to hospital to keep significant other and girlfriend apart.

John Frenaye January 22, 20132:28 pm

Corporal Brown admits under oath that at no time did John Leopold ask him to campaign for him.

Defense also pointed out that when Leopold was in hospital, that despite Corporal Brown’s duty in EPU, that a dust up did occur in hospital involving Connie Casalena (Leopold’s girlfriend), requiring hospital staff to intervene and to ultimately take photo of Casalena or identification.

Brown also admits to freely contributing to Leopold’s campaign without being asked.

John Frenaye January 22, 20132:03 pm

Brown answers questions. Says that at no time did his immediate supervisor or Major Bergin tell him to not do ny tasks. Also admit he did not feel he was committing criminal conduct. But when State Prosecutor came calling saying they felt it was illegal, he then thought it might be and accepted immunity in return for testimony.

John Frenaye January 22, 20131:52 pm

Defense hammering Brown on prior training, why he took immunity if he felt he never broke a law. Now questioning a recording made by Major Bergin prior to indictment, and comparisons to testimony/transcript in Grand Jury.

John Frenaye January 22, 20131:31 pm

If prior YouTube link did not work, here’s link to channel. It should be first one.
http://www.youtube.com/user/jfrenaye

John Frenaye January 22, 201312:32 pm

Video with Karla Hamner outside courthouse

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1L0KpbPIvbw

John Frenaye January 22, 201312:16 pm

Brown continues that he was told to bring another officer to hospital to keep Connie Casalena away from Leopold during recovery. Also testified that “you don’t say no to John Leopold”

John Frenaye January 22, 201312:05 pm

Brown testifying tat on Tuesdays he dove Leopold to parking lot of bowling alley on Generals Highway by Annapolis Mall. Said he cold not say what went on in the car. Testified that Leopold told him after the fact “it was the best blow job he’s ever had”

John Frenaye January 22, 201311:55 am

Brown also testifies he changed Leopold’s catheter bag “many” times into coffee can. This corroborates Patty Medlin testimony from Friday .

John Frenaye January 22, 201311:50 am

State brings on dirty Joanna Conti sign. Corporal Brown testifies that Leopold instructed him to pull over. Leopold got out and there sign down hill. Bowen got out of car to see if Leopold was ok.

John Frenaye January 22, 201311:44 am

When asked about NCIC database access, Brown states it may have been accessed a time.

John Frenaye January 22, 201311:41 am

Bowen testifying that he was told by Leopold to put together a file on Joanna Conti, Cal Snowden, and Tom Redmond.

John Frenaye January 22, 201311:35 am

Brown’s testimony, so far, has been pretty damning to Leopold. Watching cash box, unloading gins, distributing signs, etc. But the defense still needs to cross examine.

The legality of the campaign work may come under fire with the evidence now allowed from Queen Anne’s county case that was not prosecuted.

John Frenaye January 22, 201311:21 am

Brown: hoped Corporal Walker and camping chair Erik Robey unload truck ill of campaign signs. Also that he distributed some of those signs. Brown is naming names of people that helped is tribute signs including Robey, Bea Poulin, etc.

John Frenaye January 22, 201311:15 am

Corporal Brown states he was told to watch the cash box at a fundraiser. He was told by Leopold.

John Frenaye January 22, 201311:08 am

Corporal Brown testifies in 2008 he was instructed by superiors to do whatever it took to make County Executive happy. Brown is former Laurel policeman and also former uniformed Secret Service.

John Frenaye January 22, 201311:03 am

Case resumes after arguments on admissibility of evidence. Next witness is Corporal Howard Brown. Prosecution asks what he was old were duties as member of EPU in July 2008.

John Frenaye January 22, 201310:55 am

Looks like Sweeney is going to allow the admission of documents, emails and non-posecuted campaign violations but under protective order only to defense attorneys.

John Frenaye January 22, 201310:40 am

Prosecution’s Davitt is arguing t not release records vehemently. It sounds like Judge Sweeney s somewhat sing with defense; he’s speaking at length to Davitt.

John Frenaye January 22, 201310:39 am

Brown finally dismissed after 3.5 hours of testimony.

Next up, Erik Robey, Leopold’s Chief of Staff

John Frenaye January 22, 201310:33 am

Bonsil: The emails will substantiate that the prosecutions allegations are “vague, arbitrary , and undefined”. (Really red in face now)

John Frenaye January 22, 201310:33 am

Brown admits that the dossiers were based off of Google, the MD Judiciary Case Search. Also states that no one asked him to access the NCIC database for the dossiers.

John Frenaye January 22, 201310:31 am

Bob Bonsil attorney for Leopold vehemently arguing that defense should produce emails pertaining to investigation. Cites precedent in Queen Anne’s county with a different special prosecutor. (He’s really red in face.)

John Frenaye January 22, 201310:24 am

Pazulski testified that he was afraid that Leopold would have impact on his future jobs and promotability. His testimony is complete and he has been dismissed.

Davitt re-arguing that Leopold’s actions do constitute misconduct.

John Frenaye January 22, 201310:21 am

Emmet Davitt now addressing court after break.

John Frenaye January 22, 20139:54 am

Pazulski testifies he was offered immunity for his testimony and met with State Prosecutor 3 times.

John Frenaye January 22, 20139:42 am

And we’re back. Costs examination of Corporal Joseph Pazulski.

Pazulski testifies there were SOPs for executive protection, but on questioning states it was more focused on staffing levels.

Sgt. Corvin was direct supervisor who required forms for overtime plus mileage, but little else. Forms were discontinued in 2006 after the election.

Forms did not include any record keeping of officers time, just mileage. Ever kept records of time or days fulfilling campaign activities of Janet Owens.

Corporal testifies he considered Owens and Leopold a “friend” and coworker.

Election signs were kept in vehicle for citizens who wanted signs.

Testifies that Leopold was fairly independent when elected drove self, dismissed EPD during weekends. Testified taking Owens to lunch, dinner, social activities. He was not concerned if it was personal or county business as his first priority was to protect County Executive.

Corporal says there were instances where he went places without county executive as needed.

Marcus questions how Corporal was protecting Leopold by allowing Leopold to lay in the back of SUV, when unable to sit in seat. Corporal testified that the self-driving Leopold ceased when back problems surfaced.

Corporal testifies at point he no longer wanted to work EPD.

John Frenaye January 22, 20138:32 am

Leopold’s accuser in civil trial, Karla Hamner and her attorney just arrived in courthouse.

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Category: Breaking News, NEWS, OPINION

About the Author ()

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news--and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009. John's background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.