Plea deal in Del. Alston case has apparently fallen through

September 19, 2012|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

An agreement for a plea Wednesday afternoon by Prince George's County Del. Tiffany Alston appears to have collapsed — though her lawyers maintained that it remains a "possibility" even as they continued negotiations with prosecutors.

"It's a possibility. We're talking and that's good, so the possibility still looms [for an agreement]," said J. Wyndal Gordon, one of the attorneys for the freshman lawmaker from Bowie.

Last week, both sides indicated that they had an agreement that would cover two sets of criminal charges against Alston. But by the time they got to court, that had fizzled. And by midafternoon, the judge clearly was annoyed with the indecision.

Since she was convicted on charges that she used General Assembly funds to pay an employee of her private law firm, Alston, 35, has filed paperwork asking an Anne Arundel County judge throw out the conviction that could cost her the legislative seat. She is scheduled to be tried Oct. 9 on charges that she used campaign funds to pay for wedding expenses. In addition, she is facing the possibility of being suspended from practicing law.

Judge Paul F. Harris Jr. told both sides he would accept a plea later Wednesday afternoon, but it was too late in the day to hold a two-hour motions hearing.

"I welcome any discussions, but it's got to happen on your time, not the court's," he said.

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