Princess Anne Commissioner Suspended Following Extortion Convict - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Princess Anne Commissioner Suspended Following Extortion Conviction

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Lionel D. Frederick Lionel D. Frederick

PRINCESS ANNE, Md.- A judge on Tuesday found Princess Anne Town Commissioner Lionel Frederick guilty of one count of extortion as a local government official as well as one count of misconduct in office.

Frederick could serve up to a decade or more in prison if given the maximum sentence, according to published reports.

Frederick has been suspended from his seat in city government without pay or benefits, according to Garland Hayward, President of the Town Commissioners. The Maryland Constitution (Article XV, Sec. 2) stipulates that an elected official found guilty of a felony be suspended until the case has reached its conclusion, including appeals. Frederick's sentencing is scheduled for January 9, 2017. He does plan to appeal, according to William Clarke, Frederick's attorney.    

Charging documents show the investigation began on May 5 when investigators received information indicating Frederick had contacted a fellow Princess Anne town commissioner and told him he had someone who would run for the town commissioner's seat.

According to court documents, Frederick allegedly told the town commissioner, identified as Dennis Williams, that if he paid him $5,000, Frederick would convince the person not to run.

Charging documents state Frederick contacted Williams and arranged to meet in order to receive half of the $5,000. Maryland State Police troopers conducted surveillance of the meeting, which occurred May 9 at Frederick's home. Williams was also in possession of a digital recorder, which was used to record the conversation he had with Frederick, according to charging documents. 

Police said that after observing Williams give Frederick $2,500, troopers arrested Frederick for extortion and related offenses. 

While convicted of two charges during Tuesday's bench trial, Frederick was found not guilty by Circuit Court Judge S. James Sarbanes of theft and three other related charges.

A pre-sentence investigation has been ordered for Frederick.

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