Prince George's state Sen. Tommie Broadwater Jr., found guilty Friday of trafficking illegally in food stamps, said yesterday that he plans to appeal the conviction.
Broadwater, who spent much of yesterday in seclusion at his home in Glenarden, would not answer other questions and said, "I'm not happy about the verdict and I have no comment. I cannot talk about this case.
"I'd appreciate it if you'd talk to my lawyer," Broadwater said. His attorney, R. Kenneth Mundy, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Broadwater, his 21-year-old daughter and three other codefendants were convicted in federal court in Baltimore after a 10-day trial during which federal prosecutors described a scheme in which $70,000 worth of fraudulently obtained food stamps were laundered through the senator's supermarket in Fairmount Heights.
Broadwater and his daughter, both of whom took the stand in their own defense, maintained their innocence throughout the trial.
Of the future of a handful of businesses he owns, most of which are located on Sheriff Road in Prince George's County just outside the District, Broadwater said, "We'll try to save what we can."
The Chapel Oaks Farmers' Market, where prosecutors said the food stamps were processed, has debts of more than $1 million and has been under the protection of bankruptcy laws since January. Employes said that business at the store had been improving in recent months, though many shelves were without merchandise yesterday.
Broadwater's brother Otis, who works with the state senator in a family-owned bail bonding business as well as at the Ebony Inn restaurant Broadwater partially owns, said yesterday that the family was trying to recover from the shock of the verdict that the jury returned after about six hours of deliberation.
"I guess he can't believe everything that's happening to him. I can't believe it," said Otis Broadwater, who added that he was so confident his brother would be acquitted that he didn't accompany him to court.
"I wasn't even worried about it, so I didn't even go to the court. I first heard about it the verdict in my car radio," he said.