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Candidate pleads not guilty in campaign flier case

Washington Post Editors

Jerry J. Mathis, an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for Prince George's County Council, pleaded not guilty Friday in circuit court to charges lodged by Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler of distributing campaign material without proper markings.

Mathis, 57, of Fort Washington is charged with three misdemeanor counts of distributing campaign material without proper authority line. Each count is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of $25,000.

Mathis is a real estate agent and a trustee of Prince George's Community College. He has said that the charges were unfounded, politically motivated and violated his free-speech rights and those of Charles Summers, who was listed on the fliers as treasurer of Citizens for Change.

The fliers offered recommendations for voters in the Democratic primary, including State. Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D), who said the fliers linked him with candidates he was not endorsing, and were misleading.

State officials have said the group was not properly registered with the state elections board. Mathis sought the Democratic nomination for the council seat held by Tony Knotts, who is barred by term limits from running again. Former delegate Obie Patterson won the seven-way contest.

Mathis, meanwhile, filed his own claim against Muse, saying his campaign committee was not correctly registered, which Muse's campaigned has denied.

By Miranda S. Spivack  | October 15, 2010; 11:41 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections, Miranda Spivack, Prince George's County  
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