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Md. Court Is Asked to Review Aron's Actions

Former Md. Politician, Now on Probation, May Be Living in Fla., Records Show

By Katherine Shaver
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 20, 2005; Page B06

Ruthann Aron, the Montgomery County politician convicted in 1998 of trying to hire a hit man to kill her husband and another man, may have been living in Florida under a different name without her probation officer's permission, according to court records.

Montgomery prosecutors have asked Circuit Court Judge Ann S. Harrington to review whether Aron, 62, is abiding by the terms of her probation.

Ruthann Aron was convicted of trying to kill her husband.

Authorities are also examining why Aron's criminal record did not surface this fall when Florida police ran an FBI check on her name. Her entire record, including her conviction on two counts of solicitation to commit murder, had been expunged. Authorities said a computer error may have occurred after some of the initial charges against her were expunged. Prosecutors dropped charges that she first tried to kill her husband by feeding him poisoned chili. The computer may have instead erased her entire record, authorities said.

Aron's attorney, William Brennan, called the probation report "much ado about nothing" and said his client is living in Manhattan.

"Everyone knows where she is," Brennan said. "New York authorities can reach her at a moment's notice."

New York probation officials have not accused Aron of violating her probation, Brennan said.

He declined to comment on whether Aron is now using the last name Green, which is on her Florida driver's license. Brennan said she might be using her maiden name since her divorce. Aron's maiden name was Greenzweig, according to court testimony during her trials. Aron did not respond to a phone message left yesterday at her Manhattan home.

Aron, a wealthy Potomac developer and onetime Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, was the central figure in one of the state's most notorious criminal cases. After arguing during two trials that she was criminally insane, she pleaded no contest to soliciting an undercover detective to kill her estranged husband, urologist Barry Aron, and a lawyer whom she blamed for her political downfall.

After serving a three-year jail sentence in Montgomery, she moved to New York, where she has been under the supervision of probation agents since May 2001. She relocated to live near her son, Josh, Brennan said. Josh Aron was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.

Probation officials filed a report in November saying they had discovered that Aron had a Florida driver's license under the name "Ruthann Green" with a Boynton Beach address. A Palm Beach police detective also found that Aron has owned a Palm Beach condominium since May 2003.

Since 2000, Aron has been allowed to leave New York to visit her daughter in California or her mother in Florida, but only for 30 days and only with her probation officer's permission. As of November, she did not have permission to be in Florida, according to the probation report.

Authorities also highlighted the fact that Aron had answered "No" on her Florida driver's license application to a question asking whether the applicant was a convicted felon. However, officials said, they have determined that she did not lie because in Maryland, solicitation to commit murder is a misdemeanor. The Boynton Beach address she listed on the application appears to be her mother's address.

Brennan said Aron has traveled to Florida only to care for her elderly mother. He said he could not comment on why she obtained a Florida driver's license. The fact that she owns property there is not proof that she is living there, he said.

"People have homes in Martha's Vineyard and probably have cars registered there in Massachusetts, and it doesn't mean they live there," Brennan said. "She's living in New York."

The question of where Aron has been living surfaced in October, when Palm Beach police received an anonymous tip telling them they should look into Aron. When police researched her name on the Internet, they found links to news stories about her trials, said Detective Curtis Krauel, who examined Aron's status in Florida.

Aron's probation is due to end in October. A hearing on her probation status is scheduled March 7.

Staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.

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