LIVE BLOG: The Leopold Trial — Day 3

| January 23, 2013 | 1 Comment

Today is the third 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, @andsiegel and @annapolisscott.

Please read our recap of opening day as well as our live blog from the second day.

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John Frenaye January 23, 20134:15 pm

Recessed till tomorrow upon discussion with council. Suspect that Connie Casalena may be next witness.

Stay tuned for recap tonight and another live blog tomorrow.

John Frenaye January 23, 20134:09 pm

Short and sweet for Conti. Identified muddy sign as hers. Said she never gave permission for it to be removed. But as Billy Crystal might say, she looked mahvelous.

John Frenaye January 23, 20134:03 pm

Joanna Conti takes stand against Leopold.

John Frenaye January 23, 20133:54 pm

Speed is done he testified he was sure that at least three of the removed signs appeared to be in right of way. He was presented with overtime sheets he acknowledged were his. He was dismissed.

John Frenaye January 23, 20133:48 pm

Sgt. Speed now testifying about Leopold removing Conti signs. He is a part time driver for the CE only working weekends.

John Frenaye January 23, 20133:33 pm

Up now, Sergeant Gregory Speed, who was part time officer in Leopold’s executive protection detail. He is being questioned on how his duties changed after surgery.

John Frenaye January 23, 20133:29 pm

Karen Marcus on stand now. She is no relation to defense attorney Bruce Marcus. Dismissed in short time.

Two prior witnesses testified that Leopold signs were placed in yard and were unwanted.

John Frenaye January 23, 20133:23 pm

Up now Loretta ???. Seems like prosecution is bringing in witnesses to corroborate officers testimony.

John Frenaye January 23, 20133:20 pm

And she’s done. To be honest not sure what her testimony was all about.

John Frenaye January 23, 20133:16 pm

Up next Tracie Reynolds. She is testifying about signs.

John Frenaye January 23, 20133:14 pm

Ok that was odd. Just testimony that he wrote check and someone other than Leopold picked it up.

John Frenaye January 23, 20133:10 pm

And Corporal Walker is done after three hours. Next up is Michael Stablas. Local Anne Arundel County businessman

John Frenaye January 23, 20132:33 pm

More damning testimony. Corporal Walker testified in Grand Jury and here about not liking or being comfortable with tasks assigned by Leopold. However in March 2011, long after the catheter and election, he told Leopold that he enjoyed the Executive Protection Detail and wanted to remain in the unit.

John Frenaye January 23, 20132:06 pm

Wow. Corporal Walker just testified to showing Leopold photos of a woman that Walker was having an affair with.

John Frenaye January 23, 20131:49 pm

Walker testifying about the upending of the Joanna Conti sign. Was told to pull over by Leopold and pulled to shoulder. Leopold got out, poked up sign, tossed it over the hill liming that it was placed there illegally.

John Frenaye January 23, 20131:38 pm

Back in session after hour break for lunch.

John Frenaye January 23, 201312:31 pm

Walker states that he spent 1 to 2 weeks picking up signs and had to write “thank you” on back of Leopold’s cards to leave behind if no one was home. Said this was all on County time.

Also said he was sent to Blue Dolphin (Crofton) and Double T Diner (presumably in Pasdena) to pick up campaign contributions.

John Frenaye January 23, 201312:15 pm

Walker testified that Leopold would comment after encounters that it was “great sex.”

Now he is testifying that he was told to put 50 signs in the SUV and to put them up.

John Frenaye January 23, 201312:07 pm

The prosecution introduced the coffee can used to collect Leopold’s urine. Walker had to identify it.

Walker now testifying on the bowling alley parking lot encounters with Connie Casalena. Was instructed to circle lot till she arrived and then back into spot next to her while Leopold moved to her car.

John Frenaye January 23, 201311:53 am

Corporal Walker has testified that his job was to gas the car, take Leopold where ever he wanted and do his errands.

He stated that in 2010, his duties began to change when Leopold was hospitalized. He received a call from Leopold while he (the Corp) was in Pasadena picking up Leopold’s dry cleaning. The CE wanted him and Corp Brown in hospital because Connie Casalena (girlfriend) had tried to visit him.

He said that Casalena was not a threat to Leopold either physically or politically.

He said upon Leopold’s discharge he was brought into conversation about changing catheter bag and said that Leopold said, “I’m not doing it myself.”

After discharge, Walker testified he needed to deliver Sunday paper to Judy Miller’s (Leopold significant other) home by 7am with inserts removed. This encountered overtime for him.

John Frenaye January 23, 201311:15 am

Robey was also granted immunity from prosecution. However no questioning from defense on why he took it if he felt his actions were legal.

John Frenaye January 23, 201311:06 am

After five hours, Erik Robey dismissed. Up next is Anne Arundel County Police Corporal Mark Walker.

John Frenaye January 23, 201310:57 am

Regarding the sign, Robey testified he believed sign was placed illegally and reported it to the campaign.

John Frenaye January 23, 201310:55 am

Robey discusses his investigation of Joanna Conti. Says his google search took a few minutes and was done because no one had heard of Conti before.

Now being questioned on Conti sign that was taken down and how Robey reported it. Prosecution objecting to defense asking where specifically the sign was. Bench conference.

John Frenaye January 23, 201310:40 am

More Erik Robey: never asked or required anyone to work on or contribute to campaign. Testified that truck full of signs was about 20 bags-1000 signs, 50 to a bundle. Asked if he could have unloaded it himself he replies, “ohh yeah.”

John Frenaye January 23, 201310:22 am

Prosecution was hammering Robey on doing campaign activities on County time. Defense now questioning how many hours he staff works versus paid. Robey testifies routinely works in excess of forty hours, but paid for forty.

Defense is trying to ask if anyone was required to participate in campaign, but prosecution keeps objecting. Bench conference.

John Frenaye January 23, 201310:09 am

After a not so short recess, Erik Robey is being cross examined by defense. In other non-Leopold news, Bonnie Raitt will be headlining the 2013 Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival in May!!

John Frenaye January 23, 20139:54 am

Robey also testified he reviewed file prepared by Corporal Brown of the EPU on Joanna Conti. However, yesterday’s testimony indicated that Corporal Brown utilized all publicly available sites to enormous he dossier assembly.

John Frenaye January 23, 20139:49 am

Robey testified that he and Brenda Rieber voiced a robocall (ahhh shades of Ehrlich and Julius Henson) in the Arundel Center. Prosecution is done with Robey and judge calls for brief recess.

John Frenaye January 23, 20139:43 am

Robey testified that he heard Leopold instruct a member of security detail o drive by to make sure signs were still in place.

John Frenaye January 23, 20139:39 am

Donor in question, Edward St. John of Baltimore County pleaded guilty to 11 counts of election law violations for contributions in excess of allowed amounts.

John Frenaye January 23, 20139:21 am

Focusing on a contribution by developer Mr. St. John … and Robeys involvement with having him correct a contribution.

John Frenaye January 23, 20139:08 am

And we are back in session. Erik Robey to resume testimony.

John Frenaye January 23, 20138:48 am

Welcome to day 3 of the live blog for the trial of Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold. Court is scheduled to resume at 9am.

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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.