Prince George's County Lawmaker Guilty of Theft
Gale Horton Gay | 6/20/2012, 12:39 p.m.
Tiffany Alston Awaits Second Trial on Misuse of Campaign Funds
Maryland Delegate Tiffany Alston was found guilty last week of stealing $800 from the General Assembly and misconduct in office and is awaiting a second trial on charges of misuse of campaign funds.
Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Paul F. Harris Jr. has put off sentencing Alston, 35, a freshman delegate, until October when her second trail is expected to take place.
Her attorney J. Wyndal Gordon said they are currently in limbo, waiting to see if the judge might offer probation. Gordon said that in the case of probation prior to a judgment one doesn't have the right to appeal.
Gordon said if that happens he would encourage Alston to accept probation and have the matter expunged from her record within three year if she complies with the terms of the probation. However, if she is sentenced, he expects to appeal the conviction on the grounds that the state used its preemptory strike improperly to keep an African-American male from the jury. Another ground for appeal, Gordon said, is that the court allowed hearsay evidence which should have been inadmissible.
At question in the first trial was whether an employee of Alston's law firm, who Alston paid from General Assembly funds, was doing work for the firm or the General Assembly.
Alston is scheduled to stand trial on charges that she used campaign funds to cover personal expenses, including $3,560 for her wedding.
Gordon is also handling Alston's second trial. "My intent is to have her found not guilty," Gordon said.
Gordon said he suspects that Alston has been unfairly targeted for wrongdoing because she switched support on the same-sex amendment and has opposed the governor's redistricting plan.
"She took independent stances and investigations ensued," he said. "That's more than a coincidence."
Alston could not be reached for comment.