Schmoke, Simms cleared in balked drug raid probe

December 18, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Maryland's special prosecutor has cleared Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms of any wrongdoing in recommending against a planned narcotics raid at the home of a prominent Baltimore lawyer in 1987.

An investigation by state prosecutors determined that Mr. Schmoke, who in 1987 was the city's top prosecutor, and Mr. Simms, then a deputy state's attorney, gave "reasonable and trustworthy" explanations for why they suggested that a search warrant for attorney Georgia H. Goslee's residence should not be executed.

"I said several months ago that there was no criminal conduct on the part of anyone associated with the Georgia Goslee matter, and I am pleased to see the confirmation of this by the state prosecutor," Mr. Schmoke said in a statement released by his spokesman, Clinton R. Coleman.

The findings are included in the state prosecutor's second interim report on a special Baltimore grand jury's allegations that the city's war on drugs is poorly managed and politically influenced by some members of the police department and state's attorney's office.

The second interim report, made public yesterday, also found no substance to separate charges that top law enforcement officials protected a "prominent wealthy businessman" who was repeatedly under investigation for -- but never charged with -- illegal drug trafficking and money laundering. The report also found no support for charges that a city police investigation into the so-called "New York Boys" drug ring was tainted by corruption.

In September, State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli issued his first interim report. That report found no evidence of criminal conduct by police and prosecutors accused of protecting a prominent businessman and, in a separate case, a legislator, from criminal charges.

The special prosecutor's office still must report on five more allegations raised by the grand jury.

None of those remaining allegations involves the state's attorney's office or Mr. Simms, who called a news conference yesterday to announce that his name had been cleared by the special prosecutor. As he has done repeatedly since the grand jury released its report in March, Mr. Simms described the panel as well-intentioned but uninformed and misguided.

"I was confident at the beginning of March [when the special prosecutor began probing the grand jury findings] that this was a waste of time," Mr. Simms said. "There was nothing there."

Mr. Simms said the allegations have diverted focus from his efforts to combat violent crime in Baltimore. In that vein, he mentioned two projects set to kick off early next year: a "drug court" that would emphasize treatment for drug-addicted, nonviolent criminals, and a "24-hour" juvenile intake facility that would free police officers from time-consuming paperwork and transportation of suspects to scattered juvenile detention facilities.

He complained that the allegations dogging him and his office have made it tougher to prosecute criminals. Asked to provide an example, Mr. Simms said prospective jurors in trials may have come to court with doubts about the prosecutor's office. "In the public's mind, it certainly could be a factor," he said.

Mr. Schmoke said two weeks ago that Mr. Simms "has lost two appointments to high-level federal positions" because of the investigations, but Mr. Simms would not confirm that yesterday.

Mr. Simms was especially incensed about coverage in The Sun on the Georgia Goslee matter. He shared with reporters summoned to his office copies of a letter he wrote to an editor at the newspaper in which he termed a Dec. 2 article on the investigation "mean-spirited, dishonest and ill-researched."

That article revealed for the first time that Ms. Goslee was the previously unnamed "prominent attorney" whose downtown condominium apartment was targeted for a raid by police because of her close relationship with Arnold Mitchell, now serving a 20-year prison sentence after being convicted on drug charges as a result of the investigation. An informant had told police Mitchell was storing drugs and money in a safe in the lawyer's apartment, according to the special prosecutor.

The Sun article also revealed that the special prosecutor had obtained a memorandum from Mr. Simms advising that police not carry out the raid "at this time" because he and Mr. Schmoke found the "probable cause" to be "thin." The memo urged police to gain more information that would bolster their probable cause.

Mr. Simms told the investigators that he and Mr. Schmoke believed that, although they had no evidence to establish that Ms. Goslee was even aware of Mitchell's drug activities, the lawyer was a proper target of the investigation. Yesterday, Mr. Simms said there was no question the residence should be searched, only a question of when.

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