Baltimore City Councilwoman Helen Holton recently expressed her relief after Maryland’s highest court upheld a judge’s decision to dismiss her criminal charges on bribery and perjury.
“I am overjoyed and glad that it’s finally over, and I thank God for doing only what he could do—that’s uphold the innocent,” Holton told the AFRO in a recent interview. “He cares for good people.”
The ruling was announced by the Court of Appeals on July 13 and closes Holton’s lengthy fight against claims that she had accepted a $12,500 campaign donation from developers in exchange for tax breaks for their Harbor East project in 2007. Prosecutors said by accepting the funds, she violated state campaign laws, which limits contributions to $4,000 during a four-year election cycle.
The Court of Appeals concurred with a Baltimore City judge, who ruled that Holton had legislative immunity, which prevents lawmakers from being prosecuted based on something that he or she verbalizes. Her criminal charges were based on past statements she made as a councilwoman.
Last year, Holton pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges filed against her and was removed as the chair of the City Council’s Taxation and Finance Committee. She received one year of unsupervised probation and was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine.
“This experience has been an unrelenting public persecution for something that I did not do,” Holton said. “But I never stopped doing the job that I had to do…I’m moving forward and I’m glad it’s behind me.”