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Maryland Politics
Posted at 12:02 PM ET, 12/15/2011

Prince George’s lawmaker indicted. . .again

Prince George’s County Del. Tiffany T. Alston (D) has been indicted … again.

The freshmen state lawmaker known most for her flip-flop last year on same-sex marriage has been indicted again for theft. State prosecutors say they have uncovered evidence that she used taxpayer money to pay the salary of an aide working at her private law firm.


ANNAPOLIS, MD MARCH 09: Del. Tiffany T. Alston (D-Prince George's) (Mark Gail - WASHINGTON POST)
The indictment comes three months after Alston was charged with stealing campaign funds to pay for her wedding, and also using campaign funds to pay for the salary of a law firm employee. Alston denied wrongdoing on those charges.

“The new charges allege that Delegate Alston sought to pay an employee of her private law firm for her work for the firm by arranging for her to be added to the state payroll and paid by the Maryland General Assembly at a rate of $100.00 per day,” according to a release Thursday by the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor.

“That employee, who was paid $800 by the State of Maryland in January 2011, never worked in Annapolis and continued to perform her regular law firm duties for Delegate Alston’s private law practice.”

Alston did not immediately respond to a phone and text message on Thursday seeking comment. In September, she denied wrongdoing following the first indictment.

The new indictment, handed up by an Anne Arundel County Grand Jury, adds theft and misconduct charges to an already long list of charges that could carry significant jail time if Alston is found guilty.

Alston already faces a charge of felony theft, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. She also is charged with one count of misdemeanor theft, one count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary and two election law violations. The misdemeanor charge also carries a potential 18-month prison term.

According to state prosecutors, Alston wrote herself checks from her campaign account and cashed them to pay for at least $3,560 in expenses for her wedding day. She also allegedly wrote herself checks to help pay the salary of an employee in her law firm.

The indictment follows a string of embarrassing guilty verdicts and pleas in recent months involving Maryland politicians.

Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson was sentenced to more than 7 years in prison this month for taking as much as $1 million in bribes.

His wife and former Prince George’s County Council member Leslie Johnson was sentenced last week to one year and one day in prison and community service for flushing a $100,000 check down the toilet and hiding $79,600 in cash in her bra and underwear as federal agents pounded on the door of the couple’s Mitchellville home.

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich’s campaign manager, Paul E. Schurick, was found guilty of election law violations for ordering a 2010 Election Day robocall that a jury decided was intended to suppress black voter turnout.

Alston had been scheduled to stand trial next month, but she recently won an extension. Her case is now scheduled to be heard May 14, 2012.

By  |  12:02 PM ET, 12/15/2011

 
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