A retired Howard County judge will oversee the case of Anne Arundel County’s top elected official, John R. Leopold, the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor said Monday.
Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney, who retired from the Howard County bench in 2007, is being brought in to avoid any appearance of a conflict in the case involving the Anne Arundel County Executive. Sweeney is no stranger to political corruption cases. He was the judge in the trial of former Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon, who was convicted in 2009 of embezzling hundreds of dollars of retail gift cards.
Leopold was indicted earlier this month on multiple counts of official misconduct, charged with using his county security detail to carry out personal and political tasks. Leopold’s attorney Bruce Marcus has called the charges “salacious and scandalous” and said the county executive remains an effective leader.
Attorneys for the state and for Leopold will meet later this month with judge Sweeney to come up with a trial schedule.