Federal prosecutors to retry Hornsby

Maryland

December 14, 2007|By Matthew Dolan | Matthew Dolan,SUN REPORTER

Undaunted by a deadlocked jury that could not reach a decision in the public corruption trial of the former Prince George's County schools chief, federal prosecutors in Maryland announced yesterday that they will retry Andre Hornsby, starting June 10.

The first trial in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt ended Nov. 28 without a verdict after jurors remained divided in the kickback case.

Prosecutors charged Hornsby more than a year ago with accepting kickbacks from an educational software saleswoman. Questions about the financial arrangement between Hornsby, 54, and his then-girlfriend Sienna Owens came to light in a series of articles in The Sun in 2004.

When the trial ended without a resolution, Hornsby's defense lawyer vowed that his client would continue fighting every element of the 16-count criminal indictment against the prominent educator.

The corruption case centered on accusations that Hornsby conspired with Owens, who worked for an educational supplies company, to award hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of school contracts to her and a business associate in exchange for kickbacks and then ordered employees to destroy the evidence.

Owens pleaded guilty to a related tax charge and agreed to cooperate with federal agents against him. Hornsby's attorney vigorously disputed the allegations at trial, saying that, at most, his client is guilty of sloppy record keeping.

During the four-week trial, jurors watched a surveillance tape of Hornsby stuffing money into his shirt pocket that had been given to him by a former colleague-turned-FBI informant and heard testimony from his former girlfriend about their allegedly illicit agreement.

matthew.dolan@baltsun.com

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