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A federal jury has acquitted Maryland state senator Ulysses Currie of charges of conspiracy, bribery extortion and making false statements, according to the Associated Press.
It was alleged that Currie, 74, was paid more than $245,000 to do favors for Shoppers Food Warehouse between Dec. 2002 and May 2008. Among the favors were reducing rent for the chain at a shopping mall, transferring a liquor license between branches, and putting traffic lights near several stores.
Joseph Evans, an attorney for the defense, told jurors in his closing arguments that Sen. Ulysses Currie was far too open about his activities and dealings with Shoppers Food Warehouse for him to have deliberately committed the crimes of which he is accused. They claimed that he was a consultant for the store, and merely arranged meetings between store executives and state bureaucracy.
On Monday, the jury members sent a note to U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett asking whether they could find Currie and two co-defendants guilty of conspiracy if they did not believe a conspiracy took place in the first two months of the alleged timeframe. Bennett confirmed that they could.
The Shoppers Food executives, Currie's co-defendants, were also acquitted on related charges.