Currie's treasurer sentenced to one year in jail
Olivia Harris, 65, spoke just before she was sentenced. "I'd like to apologize and say how sorry I am," she said. "I have for all of my life been an upstanding citizen. ... I'm remorseful for what I did." She had pleaded guilty to theft in February.
State prosecutors began investigating Currie's campaign spending after a Sun story raised questions about payments to a private defense firm.
The investigators found much of the account depleted: Harris had withdrawn funds and spent some of it with her family and friends gambling at Dover Downs and Trump Plaza. As part of the sentence, she will have to be evaluated for a gambling addiction.
Harris said in court that most of the money was spent on bills including medical expenses. She's had breast cancer twice since 2007, according to her attorney Gerry Martin.
But Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Paul A. Hackner focused on the gambling. "It is not a pittance," he said, referring the $166,000 stolen. He said it was "hard to swallow" the notion that she needed the money to pay medical bills since she "found herself in a casino."
He sentenced her to be locked up for five years, but suspended all but a year. She will also have to pay the money back. She paid $50,000.
Harris wore a brown suit with a long skirt for her court appearance. She stood at the defense table as the sentence was read. When a sheriff put handcuffs around her wrists and led her away from the defense table she sobbed. The sheriff later handed her a tissue.
Her husband was in court, but declined to speak to reporters.
Harris was Currie's treasurer for 16 years, including while he was the chair of the Budget and Taxation Committee. The panel oversees the state's $14.6 billion budget and developed the framework from Maryland's gambling program.
Currie has been charged in an unrelated federal case. It is set to begin in the fall.