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Politicsby Fern Shen6:32 pmJan 22, 20200

Questions swirl as Glenn pleads guilty to bribery: Are others next?

The former delegate, who reached a sealed plea deal with prosecutors, was seen embracing two FBI special agents after today’s hearing

Above: Cheryl Glenn exits federal court in Baltimore following her arraignment last January on bribery charges. (Fern Shen)

Addressing the judge calmly, hugging two FBI special agents lingeringly and rebuffing reporters afterwards with a firm “no comment,” former Maryland delegate Cheryl D. Glenn pleaded guilty to bribery today in Baltimore.

Glenn admitted to felony charges of soliciting and accepting $33,750 in exchange for actions she carried out as a Maryland state lawmaker.

The case against Glenn became public in December, when prosecutors released a “criminal information” that had been issued in July detailing her boasts about her power in Annapolis and her rendezvous in local restaurants to collect the cash.

In court today, prosecutors revealed that Glenn had quietly signed a plea agreement on June 24.

There were no hints as to the identity of the business owners who bribed Glenn or “Associate 1” and “Associate 2” who helped carry out her scheme.

And there was no discussion of whether Glenn had cooperated with prosecutors, though there was a reference to a “sealed supplement”
to the plea agreement.

The FBI agents, who had been sitting at the prosecution table with assistant U.S. attorneys Leo Wise and Derek Hines, appeared to be closely involved with the case.

One of them had a scheduling conflict with the first proposed date for sentencing and, to accommodate, a sentencing date of May 8 at 9:30 a.m. was proposed and agreed to.

At the end of the brief hearing, as reporters filed out of the room, Glenn was approached by the two FBI agents, Steven Quisenberry and Heather H. Grow.

She hugged each of them for a long time.

Asked by reporters outside the courthouse why she did so – and “Why did you accept those bribes?” – Glenn pursed her lips and kept on walking.

“God and Cheryl Glenn”

The 68-year-old Glenn came to the court attired in gray and holding a cane, then listened as U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Blake read highlights from a 10-page statement of the facts of the case.

Prosecutors charged Glenn with taking cash in return for voting to increase the number of medical marijuana licenses, introducing a bill to decrease the experience needed by medical directors at opioid treatment clinics, and introducing legislation to create a new liquor license for an establishment on Belair Road in her 45th legislative district.

“Is the statement of facts correct?” Blake asked.

“Yes,” Glenn replied.

The statement was not made available to reporters.

The criminal information made public last month, however, was detailed and devastating.

It quotes Glenn’s response to a businessman marveling at how a certain person was able to obtain a medical marijuana license without a high-priced lobbyist.

“I said they know God and Cheryl Glenn,” she told the businessman.

Glenn pleaded guilty to bribery and wire fraud, acknowledging taking cash from the business owners in five payments, beginning in early 2018 and continuing into 2019.

After Glenn’s resignation in December, the 45th District Democratic Central Committee named Chanel Branch, the daughter of majority Whip Talmadge Branch, to replace her.

Some residents have challenged the selection process, saying it violated the Democratic Party’s open meetings and ethics rules.

Elected to the legislature in 2006, Glenn was chair of the Baltimore City delegation and, at one point, chaired the Legislative Black Caucus.

Following her resignation, Delegate Stephanie M. Smith (D, 45th) was chosen to serve as the city delegation chair.

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