Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Innocent but Politically Damaged

Senator Ulysses Currie, once one of the most powerful members of the Maryland General Assembly, was found not guilty of extortion and bribery charges by a federal jury in Baltimore yesterday. According to this story by Tricia Bishop in The Sun, the trial that lasted over six weeks “took a mental toll on defendants who could have faced decades in prison if convicted, on jurors who described the process as taxing, and on lawyers from both sides of the aisle who collectively devoted years to the case.”

"It's been a rough four years," Currie said outside the courthouse, thanking his legal team and constituents for standing by him. He characterized the acquittal — delivered on Election Day in Baltimore — as "the greatest moment" of his life."

It took a toll on Senator Curries stature as a statesmen too as even his defenders described him as not being very bright. In this story by John Wagner in The Washington Post, Timothy F. Maloney, a former member of the House of Delegates “described the 74-year-old lawmaker as “a wonderful person” and “nice,” but insisted the Prince George’s County Democrat is not known by his colleagues to be smart.”

That’s not what you want to hear about the man who, until he was indicted, served as the chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

Even Congressman Steny Hoyer described Currie as someone “not particularly taken with details or organization."

And these are his friends!

When Currie stepped down as chair of the powerful committee, he was replaced by HoCo Senator Ed Kasemeyer. Even though he has now been acquitted of criminal charges he still faces a review by the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics before he could reclaim his chairmanship.

Given these damaging statements about his intellect and capacity for organization, even if he clears this ethics hurdle, it’s hard to imagine his committee colleagues supporting a return to his former leadership role.
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