Judge Richard D. Bennett has indicated that he expects the jury to get the matter by Wednesday, following a brief rebuttal case by the prosecution and closing arguments from both sides.
During the trial, now entering its sixth week, prosecutors have alleged that Currie conspired with two grocery chain executives to use his Senate office to do a series of government favors for Shoppers Food Warehouse, under the guise of a “sham” consulting arrangement.
Currie has offered a multi-pronged defense, including a parade of fellow politicians who attested to his honesty and integrity. Currie’s lawyers have also acknowledged that he had an “undisclosed conflict of interest,” but they contend his actions on behalf of Shoppers did not amount to a crime.
Earlier in the trial, prosecutors detailed several episodes in which Currie intervened with high-ranking state officials on traffic light requests, development deals and other projects sought by Shoppers.
Currie did not disclose his consulting arrangement with Shoppers on state ethics forms, and several state officials contacted by Currie testified they did not know he was being paid by Shoppers. Some of those meetings took place in Currie’s Senate office.
The defense has presented evidence that Currie’s state disclosure forms were sloppy in general and that he disclosed the income from Shoppers — more than $245,000 over more than five years -- on federal tax returns.
Moreover, several defense witnesses, including representatives of competing grocery chains, have said they knew Currie was doing work for Shoppers.
Last week, the final two witnesses called by Currie were his wife of 26 years, Shirley A. Gravely-Currie, and Freeman Hrabowski, the president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Hrabowski, called as a character witness, relayed how he and Currie had forged a friendship based in part of their shared interest for improving educational opportunities for disadvantaged children.
Currie’s wife testified that she assumed responsibility for filling out Currie’s disclosure forms. She blamed herself for omissions, which she said were unintentional.
Gravely-Currie also testified that her 74-year-old husband became forgetful at times in 2008, the year the FBI raided their home and made its investigation of the senator public. At the time, Currie was being treated for advanced prostate cancer with Lupron, a drug that has side effects including memory lapses and confusion, according to the testimony of Currie’s urologist.
Prosecutors alleged Currie made false statements to the FBI on the morning of the May 2008 raid. He is also charged with bribery, extortion and conspiracy.
Lawyers indicated last week that only one defense witness will be called on Monday. That witness is expected to testify on behalf of one of the grocery store executives who is a co-defendant of Currie’s in the trial.