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Embattled Maryland delegate faces weapons charge

Del. Rick Impallaria, R-Baltimore and Harford counties. (The Daily Record/File Photo)

Outgoing Maryland Del. Rick Impallaria, already facing trial on allegations of theft of state funds and misconduct in office, was charged Thursday in Baltimore County Circuit Court with illegal ammunition and gun possession by a prohibited individual.

Impallaria’s attorney said he and his client will fight the charges.

“The regulated firearm(s) in question seem to be a 1917 relic that was mounted on the wall and possibly a .22 [caliber] rifle that belonged to someone else,” Steven D. Silverman stated via email Friday.

“Neither rifle was in his personal residence,” Silverman added. “I am still gathering more information as to what the prohibiting conviction is but based on preliminary information, it appears to be one or more misdemeanors dating back some 30 to 40 years when Delegate Impallaria was a very young man and not represented by counsel. If ever there was a test case to challenge when the application of the Maryland Illegal Possession statute is unconstitutional because of the passage of time, it is this case.”

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Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger’s office filed the misdemeanor charges against the 59-year-old Republican legislator by criminal information. The charges are based on a Maryland State Police report that cites an alleged offense date of Sept. 24, 2021, according to records on the Maryland Judiciary Case Search online database.

“The Maryland State Police discovered the firearms, which included two rifles, and ammunition while assisting the Office of the State Prosecutor with serving a search warrant at Mr. Impallaria’s residence on an unrelated case on Sept. 24, 2021,” MSP said in a statement Friday. “Troopers obtained a separate search warrant for the firearms and ammunition before turning over their investigative findings to the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office, which decided on which charges to file in this case.”

Shellenberger declined to comment on the case Friday.

The gun and ammunition allegations against Impallaria, who represents Baltimore and Harford counties, come as he faces trial in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court on charges of theft of more than $92,000 in state funds over a decade to pay for space he claimed was for a district office. He also faces charges for allegedly using a credit for office furniture for that district office to pay for campaign mailings.

Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton T. Howard III brought the charges in July, eight days after Impallaria’s primary loss to fellow incumbent Del. Lauren Arikan in a redrawn district.

Silverman has moved to have the charges dismissed.

“I can say in no uncertain terms that Delegate Impallaria has not violated the law as alleged,” Silverman said last month.

Silverman is with Silverman Thompson Slutkin White in Baltimore.

As a delegate, Impallaria allegedly used state funds to pay for a district office in an Essex cottage, owned by the family of his longtime legislative aide, that was not in his district. The rent payments allegedly covered both the cottage meant to be his district office as well as an adjacent cottage Impallaria had been renting for personal use.

At the time, Impallaria represented a district that included eastern Baltimore County and a portion of western Harford County. The cottages on Punte Lane were not in his district for the decade Impallaria allegedly had the state paying the rent.

Investigators said that when they searched the alleged district office space they found personal items in storage including a bed frame, sporting equipment and coolers.

Impallaria faces five charges related to the alleged property rental scheme, including two counts of misconduct in office and theft of $44,100 for rent payments for 5 Punte Lane. He also faces a charge of misappropriation by a fiduciary for the use of $92,800 in state funds for the alleged district office property at 4 Punte Lane.

Additionally, Impallaria is accused of stealing $2,400 in funds from the General Assembly. The money, meant to furnish the district office, allegedly paid for campaign fundraising mailings instead.

Impallaria also faces three charges related to the use of state funds for the campaign mailers, including misconduct in office, theft of $2,405.30 to pay for the mailings and fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary.

The delegate faces more than two decades in prison and fines up to $25,000 for four of the seven charges. He also faces additional but unspecified penalties related to the counts of misconduct in office.