By Evan Serpick, from Courthouse East
As the twelve jurors filed into the courtroom to deliver their verdict just after noon today, they seemed shell shocked, uncomfortable smiles on many of their faces. Then they delivered the news the city has been waiting for:
Mayor Sheila Dixon was convicted of embezzlement for using about $530 in Best Buy and Target gift cards, bought by developer Patrick Turner and intended for "the children of Baltimore." She was acquited of three other charges, including felony theft, the most serious charge,. The jury could not come to a verdict on another charge, that she embezzled gift cards intended for the city's Holly Trolley tour.
As a result of the conviction, the mayor will presumably have to step down, and City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will be sworn in as acting mayor. If Dixon appeals the conviction and is successful, her office will be restored. The sentence on the conviction will likely be a suspended sentence and restitution of funds.
Dixon displayed little emotion to the packed courthouse as the decision was read. While the heads of some of lawyers drooped at the conviction on count 4, the mayor's head remained high.