Robert Ozer, the flamboyant Maryland prosecutor who led the investigation of the indicted Pallottine priest, the Rev. Guide John Carcich, has resigned from the state attorney general's office. But he will commute to Maryland from his new Colorado post to direct the embezzlement case aganist Carcich.
Ozer and others in the attorney general's office asserted yesterday that the resignation will not jeopardize the Carcich case, the product of one of the most extensive criminal investigation in recent state history.
Carcich is charged with embezzling $2.2 million donated to the Catholic charity and hiding another $15 million in secret bank accounts.
"Everything the Carcich case needs of my time, it will get," Ozer said during a telephone conversation from Denver. The trial is scheduled to begin in September.
Ozer is moving to Colorado to direct that state's Medicaid fraud unit.
Ozer, who headed a special investigative unit in the Maryland attorney general's office from December 1976, became a controversial figure with the indictment of the Pallettine Father's chief fund-raiser.
Defense attorneys for Carcich in motions seeking dismissal of the indictment, made a sweeping peraonal attack on Ozer. They accused him of abusing the grand jury process by transforming the grand jury into a "private vehicle for investigation by terrorism."
The state, in its answer, denied the accusations and charged that the defense documents were filled with "bitterness acrimony, distorted allegations of fact and erroneously cited authorities."
A hearing on the defense motions for dismissal of the indictment will be held Tuesday, and Ozer said he will return to Baltimore this week to prepare for it. Ozer's resignation takes effect June 1, when he will go on the Colorado state payroll. He will be paid by the Maryland attorney general's office for each day that he is back in Baltimore working on the Carcich case.. Maryland will also pay Ozer's travel expenses for the trips between Maryland and Colorado.
Deputy Attorney General George Nilson said, "Sure it would be better to have Bob here all the time. I'd be kidding if I didn't own up to that. But he will continue to do what's needed for the Carcich case."
Ozer, 35, said his decision to move to Colorado has been evolving since February when he visited the state and "fell in love with it."
He added that he felt the job with the Medicaid fraud unit, where he will head a staff of 20, will be "exciting." His annual salary will go from $34,500 in Maryland to $35,000 in the new job.
Ozer began his career in 1967 in the Baltimore city prosecutor's office and thenworked with federal Justice Department strike forces in Philadelphia, Buffalo and Detroit.
He said it is not unusual for a Prosecutor to leave a major case behind when he moves on and commute back to handle it.
Other knowledgeable prosecutors agreed that if Ozer returns to Maryland a month before the Carcich trial begins, he should have no problems. Other lawyers in the five-lawyer investigative unit in the attorney general's office will also continue to be closely involved in the case, according to Nilson.