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The Dripby Mark Reutter5:25 pmNov 15, 20170

In new indictment, State Sen. Oaks charged with obstruction of justice

The feds are piling on criminal charges against a longtime Baltimore politician

Above: Nat Oaks at a 2013 community meeting in Northwest Baltimore. (Fern Shen)

A federal grand jury has charged veteran Baltimore state legislator Nathaniel T. Oaks with obstruction of justice in connection with an FBI investigation of another public official.

Today’s indictment, which supersedes two earlier indictments of Oaks, a state senator who represents Northwest’s 41 district, alleges that the politician tipped off the target of a federal investigation while wired by the FBI.

According to the feds, Oaks had agreed last January to cooperate in the FBI probe “of Person #1 for possible violations of federal criminal laws.”

“Just say No”

Under FBI direction, Oaks covertly recorded his telephone conversations and in-person meetings with Person #1 from mid-January 2017 until March 30, 2017.

On or about March 17, however, the indictment alleges that Oaks approached Person #1 at an Annapolis bar and told him, “What we talked about. Just say no.”

Two weeks later, Oaks again approached Person #1 in a state building in Annapolis and said, “I’m going to ask you for something. Just say no.”

“Lollipop” was code word for cash, investigators say (4/7/17)

The indictment charges that his statements were intended to warn Person #1 “from engaging in the activity that was the subject of the criminal investigation and which activity Oaks and Person #1 had discussed in a recorded conversation earlier that day.”

$15,300 for Favors

According to the original indictments issued last April and June, Oaks was paid $10,300 in bribes in return for issuing two letters on his official House of Delegates letterhead to an FBI confidential source who was posing as an out-of-town businessman seeking federal grants in Baltimore.

Oaks also was charged with taking a $5,000 bribe in exchange for filing a bond bill request with the Maryland Department of Legislative Services seeking $250,000 in state funds for a project sought by the bogus businessman.

Now 71, Oaks potentially faces life in prison – the charges amount to over 100 years of jail time.

He was a member of the House of Delegates for 21 years – from January 1995 to February 2016 – when he resigned and was appointed by Republican Governor Larry Hogan to the 41st District Senate seat vacated by an ailing Lisa Gladden.

From 1983 to 1989, Oaks also served in the House of Delegates. But he was forced to forfeit his seat after being convicted of theft charges for double-billing expenses to the state and to his campaign committee.

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