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Former Top Cop Pleads Guilty

March 09, 2004|From Associated Press

BALTIMORE — Former Maryland Police Superintendent Edward Norris pleaded guilty Monday to charges he spent thousands of dollars from a charitable account on liquor, lavish meals and extramarital affairs while he was Baltimore police commissioner.

Norris, 43, pleaded guilty to federal counts of conspiracy and filing a false tax return. Federal prosecutors said he was expected to get six to 12 months at sentencing June 21.

Norris left the city post in 2002 to become head of the Maryland State Police. He resigned from that job after he was indicted in December.

Norris and his former chief of staff, John Stendrini, were accused of misusing more than $20,000 from 2000 to 2002.

Stendrini pleaded not guilty, and his trial is set for June.

The account stemmed from three charitable funds set up during the Depression to benefit officers.

The funds, invested in stocks, were combined in 1983 into an account that was worth more than $440,000 by the time Norris was hired as city police commissioner in 1999.

The fund went unaudited by city officials until 2002, when the Baltimore Sun revealed its existence and it was brought under City Hall oversight.

U.S. Atty. Thomas DiBiagio described the case as "a reminder of the embedded corruption here and the emerging resolve not to look the other way."

Norris had no comment. His attorney, David Irwin, said Norris wanted to avoid a drawn-out trial that would bring pain and embarrassment to his family, friends and the city.

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