Ex-councilman Huddles seeks dismissal of theft charges Defense attorney calls prosecutor "obsessed," says law is on his side.

August 30, 1991|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Evening Sun Staff

The attorney for former Baltimore County Councilman Gary Huddles is seeking dismissal of theft charges against the dapper 52-year-old Towson lawyer in a motion filled with stinging attacks on the state prosecutor who sought the indictment.

Huddles, who is scheduled to go to trial Nov. 25, stands accused of theft for borrowing $50,379 from his campaign fund in 1987 to cover stock investments after the market crash that year.

Huddles paid back the money in January 1989, but did not reveal the loan to himself until filing a late campaign finance report last August. The full fund was finally distributed to various charities, and refunded to contributors who asked for their money back.

Huddles' lawyer, Robert B. Schulman, charged in his motion that prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli is "obsessed, and has been for years, with bringing about the personal ruin of Gary Huddles."

He goes on to call the prosecution "venal." In an introduction section, Schulman alleges that "after launching its misguided and vengeful prosecution against Gary Huddles, the state prosecutor has obtained an indictment which is as transparent and flawed as the very prosecution itself."

Schulman also seeks access to Montanarelli's instructions to the grand jury which handed down the indictment July 22, alleging that the prosecutor must have misled the jurors into erroneously bringing charges against Huddles.

Montanarelli declined comment on the case yesterday, except to say, "We'll do our talking in court."

Huddles served on the County Council for 16 years, but left office in 1986 after it was revealed that he had benefited from a $60,000 loan arranged by then-Old Court Savings and Loan President Jeffrey Levitt without making any repayment for three years.

Although Huddles paid back the entire amount plus $24,900 in interest within weeks of publicity about the loan in 1985, his plans to run for county executive the following year were --ed, and he retired from public life. He still had about $95,000, however, gathered at a June 1985 fund-raiser held weeks before the loan was revealed.

The various counts of the indictment, which alleges theft, misappropriation by a fiduciary, and failing to pass funds through his treasurer, should be dismissed, Schulman said, because the indictment "is the result of a selective and vindictive prosecution."

Schulman also claimed in his motion that several counts should be dismissed because Huddles allegedly had no fiduciary responsibility over campaign funds; was not governed by state election laws; the statute of limitations has expired; and the state prosecutor is allegedly not authorized to prosecute theft charges.

Huddles' main defense is that state election laws are so vague that they don't prohibit borrowing from campaign funds, and that other public officials have done the same without being prosecuted. Furthermore, the state legislature has specifically rejected proposed laws that would prohibit the practice, his defense has argued.

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