Former U.S. Rep. Edwards A. Garmatz (D-Md.) posed for photographs in front of the federal courthouse that bears his name here today before pleading innocent to charges that he conspired to take $15,000 from two East Coast shipping company officials for sponsoring legislation worth $24 million to those firms.
At the arraignment hearing in U.S. District Court here, Judge Alexander Harvey released the 73-year-old Gartmatz under $10,000 personal recognizance bond.
Harvey said the bond would allow Garmatz to travel throughout the country at will.
Through his defense attorney, Arnold M. Weiner, Garmatz agreed to a trial date of Jan. 9.
Frank C. Razzano, a federal prosecutor from Newark, N.J., who will prosecute Garmatz in the Baltimore court, estimated the trial would take 2 1/2 weeks.
Garmatz was indicted by a federal grand jury here last Monday after federal prosecutors from New Jersey presented the findings of a two-year investigation into alleged corruption in the maritime industry.
Garmatz served 13 terms in the House of Representatives and was chairman of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee for six years before retiring in 1973.
The indictment charges him with accepting payments in return for pushing the legislation that allowed four shipping firms to sell passenger liners to foreign firms despite a federal prohibition of such sales.
The payments allegedly were made by Moore-McCormack Lines Inc., and United States Lines Inc., which sold passenger liners following enactment of the legislation in 1972.
Following his indictment Monday, Garmatz denied the charges "unequivocally and without reservation."