The judge who presided over the corruption trial of former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon is being brought in to handle the trial of Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold.
Retired Howard County Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney also presided over the corruption proceedings against Baltimore City Councilwoman Helen Holton, who pleaded no contest in October 2010 to a misdemeanor campaign finance violation.
Leopold, 69, of Pasadena, was indicted by a state grand jury on March 2 for misusing state troopers assigned for his protection. The indictment claims Leopold had troopers remove his opponents’ political signs and empty his urine-filled catheter bag. He is also alleged to have used troopers to keep watch while he had sex with a county employee in commercial parking lots.
Leopold has denied the allegations and said he plans to fight the charges.
Sweeney declined to comment Monday on his assignment to the Leopold trial, which was first reported by WBAL-TV.
The judge retired from the circuit court in 2007 but has continued to serve as a recalled judge, most notably in the case against Dixon, who was convicted of one count of misdemeanor embezzlement in 2009 and sentenced to probation before judgment.
Since his retirement, Sweeney has also served as a private mediator or arbitrator and was selected in 2009 to become a mediator in the Pilot Civil Mediation Program of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Last year, Sweeney became a mediator/arbitrator, special master with JAMS, a California-based private arbitration firm.
Sweeney is scheduled to hold a scheduling conference in the Leopold case on March 21, at which a date will be set for trial in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.