Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr., who retired from Maryland's highest court last fall, has agreed to represent Sen. Ulysses Currie in an ethics inquiry expected to get under way in the General Assembly later this month.
Currie, a Prince George's County Democrat who was acquitted of federal corruption charges in November, could face disciplinary proceedings as a result of his admitted failure to fully disclose his ties with Shoppers Food Warehouse at a time when he was intervening before state agencies on the grocery chain's behalf. Testimony at the trial showed that Currie was paid more than $245,000 by Shoppers between 2003 and 2008. The matter was referred to the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.
The committee has yet to schedule a meeting for the session that begins Jan. 11 but is expected to take up the Currie matter behind closed doors shortly after the session begins.
Murphy, who left the Court of Appeals in autumn and jointed the firm of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin and White in November, said he knows Currie from his appearances before legislative committees.
"I've respected him for many years," said Murphy. Before being named to the state high court in 2007, Murphy, 67, served as chief judge of the Court of Special Appeals and as a circuit court judge.
After his indictment, Currie stepped down as chairman of the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee. He was not restored to that post after his acquittal in a trial at which his lawyers contended that while the senator might have committed ethics infractions, they did not amount to crimes.