A decision will be made early next month on whether perjury indictments should be brought against some of the witnesses in the political corruption trial of Gov. Maryland Mandel, the chief prosecutor of the case said yesterday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Barnet D. Skolnik said his office also will decide if it should reopen the hunt for the so-called "shark" whose jury-tampering efforts resulted in aborting the first Mandel trial Dec. 7.
Although Skolnik would not identify possibly targets of the investigation, in his closing argument at the trial he told the jury that State Sen. Roy N. Staten "is lying to you."
Staten, a powerful ally of Mandel and chairman of the Democratic Party in Maryland, yesterday withdrew his name from consideration for a cabinet-level position in the administration of Acting Gov. Blair Lee. III, acknowledging that adverse publicity resulting from his disputed testimony was one factor in the decision.
At a press conference yesterday afternoon, Lee said, however, that the specter of still another federal investigation of a ranking state politician was not the reason for Staten's action.
"That's between the federal prosecutors and the senator," Lee said.
Staten, 64, "agreed this morning that the should stay where he is" (in the General Assembly), Lee said.
The Baltimore County legislator is majority leader of the Maryland Senate and chairman of its powerful Budget and Taxation Committee.
During his testimony as a defense witness, Staten denied a quotation attributed to him in a newspaper article that the prosecution was attempting to introduce as evidence in an effort to damage the governor's testimony.
In its rebuttal, the government subpoenaed Edward Walsh, The Washington Post reporter who wrote the 1975 article that contained the disputed quotation.
Staten testified that he never made the comments to Walsh, but the reporter subsequently testified that Staten had made the statements.
Lee, in defending Staten, said the one-time timekeeper for Bethlehem Steel had been "mutilated" in newspaper editorials, including one that referred to him using the derogatory title of "Senator Muldoon," a name in Maryland political parlance meaning unquestioning loyalist. Le said it was "wrong that he has been denounced for being a muldoon."
Mandel said earlier this year he would name Staten to the $42,300-a-year post as secretary of the state department of licensing and regulation, which oversees the hodge-podge of state regulatory agencies.
Staten said he decided to stay in the legislature "to try to pull things together and keep things moving a-long." He pointed out that he had "carried the mail" for Govs. J. Millard Tawes and Mandel, and is prepared to do the same for Lee.
Turning down the post of secretary, which has been vacant since John R. Jewell resigned last year, also will allow Staten to remain as state Democratic chairman.
Skoinik also told the jury in his summation that Herbie Alper, a tailor who testified about the purchase of suits for Mandel and then incorrectly listed the sold items on records as guard uniforms, "is probably lying about that."
The jury, in deciding that defendant Irvin Kovens was the owner of a large number of shares of stock in Marlboro Race Track, in effect decided that another key witness had lied, since Irving T. (Tubby) Schwartz had testified that he owned the stock.
Prosecutor Skolnik also told the jury that "three men named Hess. Rodgers and Mandel . . . are lying to you," referring to defendants W. Dale Hess. Harry W. DRodgers and the governor.
It is unlikely that prosecutors would seek to bring charges against any of the convicted defendants for alleged perjury. One prosecutor said such action might be viewed as vindictive since the alleged lying did not result in acquittal.
The probe into the person responsible for the mistrial last year was not actively pursued during the retrial because both the prosecutors and their investigators were busy with the court proceeding.
Two men were convicted for their part in the attempted jury tampering, but neither was believed to be the person who set the scheme in motion.