U.S. judge turns down requests from Bromwells

September 09, 2006|By Matthew Dolan | Matthew Dolan,sun reporter

A federal judge rejected yesterday former state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell Sr.'s request to throw out the FBI's search of his Baltimore County home, dismiss the indictment on public corruption charges against him and postpone his trial scheduled for early next year.

The rulings by U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz set the stage for a lengthy courtroom fight in February. The trial could last several months.

Defense attorneys for Bromwell, his wife, Mary Pat, and former Poole and Kent Co. Chief Executive Officer W. David Stoffregen argued that the government overreached when prosecutors charged the three in an 80-page racketeering indictment in October 2005.

After a two-year investigation, the Bromwells were accused of trading the former senator's political influence for a lucrative no-show job for her and off-the-books construction work on the couple's residence in the 9300 block of Ravenridge Road near Satyr Hill. They have pleaded not guilty.

Stoffregen, who is accused of bribing the Bromwells, also pleaded not guilty to related charges.

In addition to their criticism of the racketeering law, the Bromwells' attorneys had argued that prosecutors were attempting to connect meetings attended by Thomas Bromwell to money and free construction work he might have received from Poole and Kent, allegedly in return for his intervention on contracts. But defense attorneys have said prosecutors have failed to show the two are linked.

Joshua Treem, an attorney for Thomas Bromwell, argued in court yesterday that the search of the Bromwells' home should not have been approved by a magistrate judge because investigators were relying on outdated information. Treem also said that the Bromwells had already been served a subpoena for records related to his business.

Treem said the search violated the Bromwells' constitutional rights, saying it infringed on the couple's privacy protections when the magistrate allowed government agents to conduct a "general rummaging through the house."

During the search, government agents discovered a day planner allegedly kept by Mary Pat Bromwell, which included entries that show she knew little about a construction company job for which she received $80,000 a year, the federal prosecutors alleged in court papers unveiled yesterday.

In separate arguments, Gerald P. Martin, Mary Pat Bromwell's lawyer, asked Motz to dismiss the most serious charges of the indictment because, he argued, prosecutors failed to show how the defendants engaged in a racketeering enterprise.

matthew.dolan@baltsun.com

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