After a six-week trial and three days of deliberation, a Maryland jury on November 8 acquitted Sen. Ulysses S. Currie, retired Shoppers president Bill White and former Shoppers VP Kevin Small of federal extortion and bribery.
The three were indicted last year, after a years-long investigation into allegations that they used a community-relations consulting contract to conceal a bribery scheme in which Currie accepted payment in exchange for legislative favors. A 48 page indictment filed against Currie, White and Small, claimed they conspired from late 2002 through May 2008.
According to published reports after the verdict, jurors indicated that they might question the ethics of the arrangement, but ultimately determined it did not rise to the level of a federal crime.
Currie was paid $245,000 over a five-year period to work for Shoppers, which he never disclosed on ethics forms, as required under Maryland law.
In a statement, Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said the jury’s verdict settles the question of federal criminal liability.
“The jury’s sole duty is to decide whether the evidence proves a defendant guilty of the charged crime beyond any reasonable doubt, and a substantial proportion of corruption trials result in acquittals,” Rosenstein said.