Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-Prince George’s) appeared before a Maryland legislative ethics committee for more than four hours Monday, amid signs that the panel is moving toward a recommendation in his case.
Currie emerged from the closed-door session shortly before 4:30 p.m. and was quickly ushered down a stairway in a Senate office building by his lawyer, Joseph F. Murphy Jr., a former judge on the Maryland Court of Appeals.
Currie and Murphy, who were followed by several news reporters, both declined to comment on the proceedings, which are examining the relationship between the senator and a grocery chain that paid him $245,000 over five years.
A federal jury acquitted Currie in November of criminal charges that, under the guise of a consulting relationship, he used his office to do government favors for the chain, Shoppers Food Warehouse.
Currie, a former chairman of the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee, was also accompanied Monday by his lead lawyer in the criminal case, Joseph L. Evans, an assistant federal public defender.
During trial, defense lawyers acknowledged ethical lapses by Currie that they argued did not amount to crimes. Among them: failing to disclose his consulting work on state ethics forms and voting for a liquor license transfer that the chain sought from the General Assembly.
Members of the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, which consists of both House and Senate members, declined to comment on the substance of Monday’s proceedings as well.
Brian K. McHale (D-Baltimore), the House chair of the panel, said it would reconvene Tuesday morning but offered no further details.
The committee is authorized to recommend sanctions ranging up to expulsion. Privately, senators and legislative staff have suggested a censure of Currie is more likely.