Wednesday, November 23, 2011

GAY PARTY BOSS DEFENSE? MD Lawmaker Tiffany Alston Calls Criminal Charges Revenge for Marriage Equality Flip-Flop

Maryland Juice previously reported on the ironic story of Delegate Tiffany Alston facing criminal charges for allegedly using campaign funds on her wedding expenses. LGBT advocates noted that Ms. Alston was one of the reasons the marriage equality effort failed this year, as she sponsored the bill but then announced she would vote against it. Now The Gazette reports that Delegate Alston is blaming the criminal charges on her failure to support marriage equality:
The defense attorney for state Del. Tiffany Alston, who has been charged with misusing her 2010 campaign money, claims the charges against her are a backlash for Alston withdrawing support from a 2011 same-sex marriage bill....
State law says Alston could face 10 years in prison for felony theft, and would have to give up her delegate seat if she were either convicted or pleaded no contest. Alston hasn’t entered a plea, according to Maryland District Court records.

She was indicted Sept. 23 on charges of using more than $3,500 of campaign funds for her own wedding, $1,250 for personal expenses and $660 for an employee at Alston Law Office LLC, her Lanham-based law firm, her indictment states....

[Alston's attorney] said the money in question was Alston's own that she expected to get a reimbursement from through the campaign.

Am I the only one that thinks this defense does not pass the straight face test? I find it hard to believe that the LGBT community would suddenly find itself at the levers of power, including being able to bring criminal investigations down on elected officials. A more likely explanation is that Prince George's politicians are under greater scrutiny, due to a seeming rash of recent scandals.

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