Anne Arudel County Executive John Leopold says he will not be stepping down -- despite being indicted on charges of misconduct in office.
State Prosecutors Emmet Davitt, whose office investigates misconduct by public officials, announced the indictments on Friday.
Leopold faces four counts of misconduct in office, and one count of of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary.
The indictments charge that Leopold used his executive protection detail -- police officers from Anne Arundel County -- to run errands, conceal an affair -- and stand watch while he had sex in county parking lots.
Leopold told ABC-2 News the grand jury process is one sided, leaving him with no chance to tell his side of the story. “In a court hearing, both sides can be heard, argument and evidence can be presented on both sides of the story and I'm very confident when all the salient facts are known, that we will prevail,” he said in an interview.
Right now, the only facts have come from the indictments, which allege that Leopold used his detail officers -- who earn $40.00 dollars an hour -- $60.00 if it's overtime -- to watch out, while he had sexual encounters in parking lots in the Annapolis area. “The proper forum for all these issues and questions is in court. I can't really try this case in the press,” Leopold said.
Leopold is also accused of ordering the officers to drive him to locations in Anne Arundel County where on six occasions he removed campaign signs from his Democratic opponent, Joanna Conti, who he narrowly defeated in the 2010 election.
“If it had been known he was driving around tearing out my campaign signs and things like that then I think it's quite likely the election would have gone a different way,” Conti said Friday night.
As to the more sordid sectio ns of the indictment: “I am absolutely outraged that he used our professionally trained police officers to stand around on wait while he had sex in parking lots,” Conti said.
Leopold says he has no plans to step down. “We'll be able to conduct business just as usual and maintain the same fiscal responsibility that we've done for the last five and a half years,” he said.
Joanna Conti holds a different view. “If these charges are true, then Mr. Leopold is not fit to hold office and he should resign immediately,” she said.
State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt included this comment in a news release about the indictments: "Public officials criminally abuse their public trust when they treat public resources as their personal property and public personnel as their personal servants. These abuses will not be tolerated."
No court date has been set.
Joanna Conti says she would like to run for county executive again in 2014.
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