Ehrlich says Currie is a "gentleman"
Ehrlich was the first Republican on a lengthy list of Annapolis politicians to testify in recent days as character witnesses for Currie. Currie is accused of accepting a bribe via a consulting contract with Shoppers Food Warehouse, with prosecutors alleging he traded legislative favors for $245,000 over a five-year period.
The former governor was slightly more circumspect on the stand than other top Democrats. "In dealing with me ... he was very honest," Ehrlich said. He stressed that his budget director, Chip DiPaula, had the day-to-day interactions with Currie.
Ehrlich also stressed Currie's high position in the State House. "He was a trusted member of Democratic leadership," Ehrlich said of Currie.
Ehrlich noted that the pair had little contact from 1995 to 2003 when Ehrlich was in Congress, but when he returned to the state house as governor, he observed that Currie "had aged."
He also noted that, as a new Republican governor, needed alliances with people like Currie. "I was looking for friends," Ehrlich said. "They were in short supply at the time."
Defense attorneys tried to steer the former governor from talking about political clashes with Currie, asking him to "put politics aside." Ehrlich laughed and then quipped: "You are talking about Annapolis, you want me to put politics aside?"
On cross examination, prosecutors asked one question: Did Ehrlich know that Currie was working for Shoppers Food Warehouse.
"I did not," Ehrlich said.