Maryland Sen. Ulysses Currie said Thursday that he has been gratified by an outpouring of support from his constituents but thought little about his political future or an upcoming legislative ethics proceeding.
Currie (D-Prince George’s) was acquitted late Tuesday afternoon of all criminal charges following a six-week public corruption trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
“Yesterday was the first day in almost four years that this thing wasn’t hanging over my head,” Currie said in a brief telephone interview.
An investigation into Currie’s relationship with Shoppers Food Warehouse, a grocery chain, became public in 2008 when FBI agents raided the senator’s home.
Last year, Currie and two grocery executives were indicted on charges that included bribery, extortion, conspiracy and making false statements to the FBI. Prosecutors alleged that Currie had used his office to do a series of favors for the grocery chain in exchange for $245,000 over five years.
Currie’s defense argued that he was engaged in legitimate consulting work but acknowledged it posed a conflict of interest at times. Currie did not disclose his work for Shoppers on state ethics forms.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) praised the verdict Tuesday but said that Currie would still face ethics proceedings in the General Assembly, with possible penalties ranging up to expulsion.
“I have not thought about that one way or another,” Currie said Thursday.
The 74-year-old lawmaker said that he has been received warmly by constituents in his district. “Wherever I go, the support could not be greater,” Currie said.
He also offered a few words of praise for the lead prosecutor in the case, Kathleen O. Gavin, an assistant U.S. attorney.
“She’s tough,” said Currie.