Baltimore Mayor Convicted of Embezzlement
(Baltimore Sun photo by Algerina Perna / December 1, 2009) Mayor Sheila Dixon and her lead attorney, Arnold M. Weiner, face the media after her conviction on a single charge of taking gift cards intended for the city's poor
Julie Bykowicz and Annie Linskey | The Baltimore Sun via YellowBrix
December 01, 2009
Jurors in the theft trial of Sheila Dixon convicted the Baltimore mayor Tuesday on a single charge of taking gift cards intended for the city’s poor.
Although Dixon was acquitted of a felony theft charge, her conviction could force her from office.
Jurors deliberated more than six days after hearing the Democrat was accused of using or keeping $630 worth of gift cards. She allegedly solicited most of the cards from a wealthy developer and then bought electronics at Best Buy, clothes at Old Navy and other items at Target.
The jury convicted her on one count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary and acquitted her on two counts of felony theft and one count of misconduct in office. Jurors failed to reach a verdict on another count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary.
“The city will still continue to move forward,” Dixon said outside the courthouse after the verdict. “This city will continue to run. … We won’t miss a step.”
Earlier Tuesday, jurors sent a note to Judge Dennis M. Sweeney asking whether the panel needed to reach a unanimous decision on all five counts against the mayor. The note, written by juror No. 11 and signed by the forewoman, had the word “all” underlined.
Sweeney brought the jurors into the courtroom and explained to them that they could return a partial verdict. He did not take questions from the jurors in the courtroom, but said that they could send another note with any additional questions.
Several jurors nodded as Sweeney explained that the court can accept a partial verdict.
Because prosecutors used different legal theories in charging Dixon, she could have been convicted of a maximum of three counts. Dixon faced conviction on the following counts:
• Count One
The jury found Dixon not guilty of the most serious crime, felony theft. The jury decided that Dixon did not knowingly steal about $630 in Target and Best Buy gift cards purchased in December 2005 by developer Patrick Turner, who testified they were intended for “the children of Baltimore.” Dixon was City Council president at the time.
• Count Four
The jury convicted Dixon of embezzlement, a misdemeanor, for violating her fiduciary duties to the city and citizens of Baltimore by using the Target and Best Buy gift cards purchased in December 2005 by Turner and worth about $630.