State Sen. Clarence Mitchell III said tonight that a report that he is under investigation by law enforcement officials was "snide, yellow journalism" that will soon be proved untrue.
In an emotional speech on the Senate floor, Mitchell attacked a report in The Baltimore Sun that quoted unidentified law enforcement sources as saying that he is under investigation by a federal grand jury for possible influence peddling. "An impartial review will lead to one conclusion," Mitchell said. "That's that this senator has done no wrong."
Mitchell's statements drew bursts of applause from supporters seated in the gallery but were met with silence from his Senate colleagues.
Mitchell, a Baltimore Democrat who has served in the General Assembly since 1963, is a real estate broker and consultant. He is the son of the late civil rights leader Clarence Mitchell Jr. and the nephew of retiring Rep. Parren J. Mitchell, and he frequently has been mentioned as a possible successor to his uncle in Congress.
"I can assure you . . . there is a real story that's going to come out at the appropriate time that will in fact give the real facts of the situation," Mitchell said. He declined to elaborate.
A story in Sunday's Baltimore Sun said a federal investigation has centered on Mitchell's dealings with a firm controlled by convicted Baltimore drug trafficker Melvin D. (Little Melvin) Williams.
The reports of involvement with Williams in a real estate deal, Mitchell said, "have caused the beginnings of an uproar in my community."