Maryland Sen. Ulysses Currie, D-Dist. 25, had eight of the 18 charges levied against by the federal government dropped as he continues to fight corruption charges. In the motion to dismiss, U.S. attorney Rod Rosenstein wrote he is dismissing the charges in order to “streamline the case” as trial approaches, claiming these charges would be “duplicative” of other charges in the indictment.

Currie’s lawyer, James Wyda consented to the move by the U.S. attorney, but in its response said Currie “does not accept the government’s explanation contained in its motion as to the rationale for such dismissal or the impact of that dismissal on count one.”

Currie was indicted on bribery charges in September when he was accused of conspiring with high ranking members of Shoppers Food Warehouse to use his position to advance the company’s interests. In total, it was alleged that Currie accepted over $245,000 in bribes.

When the indictment was handed down, Currie’s former lawyer, Dale Kelberman refuted those allegations when he told the AFRO Currie received no money under the table and he was legally working for Shoppers as a consultant. “To the contrary, Senator Currie performed legitimate and highly visible work for Shoppers, and his work for Shoppers was disclosed to members of the legislature as well as those in the business and civic community,” Kelberman said. “He assisted Shoppers with significant community relations issues, among other things, all of which are well documented.”

Currie’s trouble even came up in the corruption indictment of former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson. According to the indictment on Johnson, he was heard through a wiretap having a conversation about Currie to a man currently identified as Public Official A.

“You heard they indicted Uly Currie tonight right?” Johnson asked.

“Yeah, sixteen counts,” Public Official A responded.

“Yup, damn, they really … that’s why I was saying man, you know we in these jobs, we got to take … be careful man,” Johnson responded. “You know what I’m saying. Be careful boy, be careful.”

Since then, Currie has had to deal with other controversies as well. Olivia Harris, 65, Currie’s longtime treasurer was sentenced to one year in jail last month after she pleaded guilty to stealing over $166,000 in campaign contributions.

“I’d like to apologize and say how sorry I am,” she at her sentencing according to the Baltimore Sun. “I have, for all of my life, been an upstanding citizen. … I’m remorseful for what I did.”

Currie was unaware of that scheme, but it has done nothing to take the heat off of his current predicament.

The trial is expected to begin in September. Since the indictment was handed down, Currie has changed attorneys and is now being represented by federal public defenders.

Currie was re-elected to a fifth term by close to 99 percent majority.


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO