Leopold staffers lost sleep, feared for jobs

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – They lost sleep and feared for their jobs, witnesses have testified during the ongoing trial of former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold.

Thursday morning, a member of Leopold’s security detail — Sgt. Tim Phelan — testified that part of his duties included delivering the newspaper to Leopold’s girlfriend’s home.

Phelan felt increasingly uncomfortable about what he was asked to do and testified he wanted off the detail by 2010.

Former staffers and security detail members have testified about having to do everything from preventing Leopold’s live-in girlfriend from finding out about another woman to driving him to and from sexual encounters with that second girlfriend.

Two women who are suing Leopold say they feel vindicated by what they’re hearing from witnesses.

One of those women is Joan Harris, who was fired hours after Leopold’s 2010 election.

“Officers are here to protect the citizens, not to protect John Leopold from his two girlfriends at the hospital or in parking lots of bowling alleys to have sex. That’s not why we elect elected officials,” Harris says.

Harris is suing Leopold for wrongful termination and is not a witness in his trial.

Outside the courtroom, former employee Karla Hamner, who also is not a witness in this case but is suing Leopold for sexual harassment, said she feels vindicated by the testimony she’s hearing.

Leopold’s defense attorneys have said there may have been unusual requests by the county executive, but his actions don’t amount to criminal acts.

Leopold faces charges of misconduct in office for allegedly using his police detail for personal and political purposes.

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WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @kateryanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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