Chapman funneled donations, agent says

FBI investigator testifies employee accounts used

Defense says politician targeted

July 28, 2004|By Stephanie Hanes | Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

Two of Nathan A. Chapman Jr.'s employees told investigators that the investment manager used them to funnel illegal campaign contributions to Parris N. Glendening's 1994 gubernatorial campaign, an FBI agent testified yesterday.

And years later - after Chapman secured a spot as chairman of the state university system's Board of Regents, and after he had received hundreds of thousands of dollars of state pension money to manage - Chapman gave Glendening's former chief of staff, Major F. Riddick Jr., what appeared to be a no-show job, the agent said.

Special Agent Steven Quisenberry was one of the last witnesses to testify at Chapman's six-week federal trial. Chapman is charged with defrauding the state pension fund, stealing from his own companies and lying on his tax returns.

Both sides rested yesterday, and closing arguments are scheduled for tomorrow.

Quisenberry's testimony added to the trial's political undertones, which have become more pronounced in recent days. The agent was called as a prosecution rebuttal witness, but his remarks about the campaign contributions came during questioning by Chapman's lawyer, William R. "Billy" Martin.

Martin has tried throughout the trial to convince jurors that the government's charges against Chapman were a consolation prize, and that the U.S. attorney's goal had been a case against Glendening or another public official - a theory government witnesses have rejected.

Early yesterday, the defense urged U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. to force prosecutors to turn over materials from an interview with former Maryland Treasurer Richard N. Dixon concerning Chapman's political connections.

"You wanted the governor, didn't you?" Martin asked Quisenberry later.

"Sir, in our investigations, we want the truth," the agent replied.

Prosecutors called Quisenberry to the stand to counter testimony last week by Baltimore political strategist Julius C. Henson. Henson testified that the agent offered him money and "help" with his political clients in return for being an informant.

Quisenberry said yesterday that, although he had asked Henson to be an informant, he never offered to assist him with clients, and said that some details Henson gave of their interview - such as it taking place in a car - proved that Henson had confused their discussion last year with a discussion Henson had with FBI agents in 2000, in an unrelated case.

Quisenberry did not deny that he asked Henson about political figures.

"I asked Mr. Henson about Governor Glendening and Major Riddick," Quisenberry said.

The agent said that in late 2002, shortly before he interviewed Henson, Chapman's employees had told him about the "straw campaign contributions." Quisenberry said bank records showed that soon after one employee made his political donation to Glendening, money from Chapman's company was wired into that employee's account.

The agent acknowledged that Chapman was never prosecuted for illegal campaign contributions, but added that the FBI obtained evidence of the alleged offense only after the statute of limitations for bringing charges had passed.

Quisenberry also said that at the time he interviewed Henson about Chapman's political contacts, investigators were trying to track about $500,000 in business development checks they say Chapman cashed for his own use.

"We had information about his [political] connections," the agent said. "One of the theories was that he used the cash to pay for bribes."

Quisenberry said he had asked about Riddick because of the former chief of staff's employment at Chapman's publicly owned company after Riddick left state government and was running for Prince George's County executive in 2002.

The agent said other Chapman employees had never seen Riddick. Investigators subpoenaed Chapman's company "for any work product related to Riddick," the agent said. He said the FBI received nothing.

Riddick could not be reached for comment yesterday.

"There are aspects of this investigation that have been put off until after this trial," Quisenberry said at the end of prosecutors' questioning.

Martin quickly asked for more clarification.

"With that statement, are you trying to imply that there is more dirt to come out?" the defense attorney asked.

"I think it speaks for itself," the agent replied.

Sun staff writer Michael Dresser contributed to this article.

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