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U.S. Attorney Dismisses Public Corruption Indictment Against Former High-Ranking MD State Official

February 10, 2005

The U.S. Attorney in Baltimore dismissed a major public corruption indictment against a former state official, Stephen Amos, represented by Zuckerman Spaeder partner Gregg Bernstein.

During the 2002 Maryland gubernatorial campaign between then-Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Congressman Bob Ehrlich, the U.S. Attorney's Office began a widely publicized investigation of alleged misappropriation of Department of Justice grant funds by the state agency that administered the grants, the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention. Amos was the head of the agency, and Lt. Governor Townsend oversaw it. The investigation continued after the election, and Amos was the only person indicted.

"Amos' attorney, Gregg L. Bernstein, said he tried to persuade prosecutors working for then-U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio, who resigned last month, not to indict," reported Greg Garland from The Baltimore Sun.

"How could there be criminal intent, Bernstein questioned, when Amos didn't profit? At worst, some funds might have been allocated improperly, the type of problem that ordinarily would be addressed through audits and administrative sanctions - not criminal prosecutions, he argued." Prosecutors ultimately agreed.

The case was scheduled for trial in March. It reached an early conclusion with the January 12 dismissal, which came at the U.S. Attorney's motion.

This case has been featured in articles in The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post.