The prosecution rested its case yesterday against Prince George's County Council member Anthony J. Cicoria after calling more than three dozen witnesses and presenting a tortuous paper trail that it hopes will lead the jury to one conclusion: that Cicoria and his wife Catherine stole $64,324 from the council member's campaign fund during the 1980s.
The Circuit Court trial in Upper Marlboro, which opened Oct. 9, will resume Monday morning with the defense presenting its case. Cicoria's attorney, Robert Mance, who called the state's case against his client weak, said yesterday he intends to call eight or nine witnesses, but had not decided whether Anthony Cicoria will be among them. Cicoria declined to comment on the case.
In 10 days of often tedious testimony, 39 witnesses for the state used dozens of charts and graphs, and bundles of financial documents, canceled checks, bank statements and campaign finance reports, to help prosecutor Scott Nevin show how tens of thousands of dollars allegedly was siphoned out of the Citizens for Cicoria bank account from 1984 to 1989.
Yet there were no allegations of lavish spending by the couple.
The largest portion of the money -- about $33,000 -- allegedly was used to make mortgage and property tax payments on an office condomimium near Hyattsville that Cicoria bought as a personal investment, Nevin alleged.
Sharon Allen, an accountant who studied the Cicorias' personal checking account records from 1983 to 1989, said during 2 1/2 days of testimony that she believes most of the allegedly stolen money was used for such ordinary expenses as food, utilities and cable television. Some money also appeared to have been spent for airline tickets to Florida, she said.
Allen, who also audited the campaign fund's financial records for the same period, said she believes Anthony Cicoria stole thousands of dollars by claiming the payments were reimbursements for loans he had made to the committee. In most cases, no such loans had been made, witnesses said.
Allen and other witnesses said they also believe Cicoria and his wife reimbursed themselves from the campaign fund for expenses they never incurred.
Mance, Cicoria's attorney, said in his opening statement that although campaign money may have improperly ended up in the Cicorias' personal accounts, it ultimately was used for campaign expenses. He said his client was guilty of nothing more than "bad bookkeeping."
Cicoria, 50, a two-term Democrat from Hyattsville who faces token opposition in his reelection bid, is on trial on charges of theft, conspiracy and filing false income tax returns. His 52-year-old wife, who also is his campaign chairman, was to have gone on trial with him. But she did not appear for the start of the trial and is being sought by authorities.
Many of Nevin's witnesses have been financial specialists, investigators and former Cicoria campaign officials. Most of them have given hours of laborious testimony concerning 273 exhibits entered into evidence by the prosecution.
The only witness to add spice to the trial was Joanne Oxley, a former legislative aide to Cicoria. Oxley, 33, testified that she and the council member became involved in a romantic affair in the early 1980s and that Cicoria reneged on a promise to get a divorce and marry her.
Oxley was asked about her relationship with Cicoria so prosecutors could establish her familiarity with the council member's handwriting. Oxley was shown several Citizens for Cicoria checks bearing the signed name of the campaign's treasurer. She testified that, to her eyes, the handwriting appeared to be Cicoria's, not the treasurer's.
There were other, more explicit allegations of forgery by Cicoria.
A Maryland State Police handwriting specialist testified that, in his opinion, Cicoria forged the treasurer's signature on several checks.
The former treasurer, Richard Basile, was shown his signed name on several checks, and testified that the handwriting was not his.
Also, in obtaining a $104,000 mortgage to buy the office condominium near Hyattsville in 1986, Cicoria allegedly submitted a letter to a bank, purportedly signed the County Council's staff director, stating that the county had agreed to lease the office from Cicoria and his wife. The staff director, Samuel Wynkoop, who no longer works for the county, testified that he neither wrote nor signed such a letter.