State Del. George J. Santoni (D-Baltimore), who was found guilty of extortion by a U.S. jury on May 5, learned today that he may still run for re-election.

Santoni, 38, may register for the upcoming Democratic primary and may vote until all avenues of appeal are exhausted, according to a letter to him from an assistant state attorney general. He will lose those rights if his conviction is upheld on appeal, but he would regain them once he has served out his sentence and probationary period.

If Santoni runs for re-election as an independent candidate instead of as a Democratic Party candidate, he may run for office even if he is in jail, said Robert A. Zarnock, assistant attorney general.

Zarnock, who spent about a week researching the qualifications for the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates, said he found no provision saying a candidate for those offices must be a qualified voter.

Santoni, who is awaiting sentencing, said he asked the attorney general's office whether he would be able to run for re-election because "I wanted to find out what my options were.

Santonni, was on convicted in U.S. District Court here of extorting $14,500 from a dummy firm that was being operated by the FBI.