The mayor of District Heights, Maryland, has been convicted of misconduct in office in connection with a scheme that allowed his friend to obtain fireworks illegally.
Eddie Martin was convicted Wednesday after a jury trial that lasted two days.
Sentencing is set for next month.
“Misconduct in office is a common law misdemeanor that carries any potential sentence that is not cruel and unusual,” said Maryland state prosecutors who are handling the case.
Martin was found guilty of using official city letterhead in June 2017 to approve the purchase of $50,000 worth of fireworks for District Heights from Wayne’s World Fireworks.
The problem was the fireworks were actually being purchased by Martin’s friend, not the city.
The fireworks were Class B and C which meant they were only available for purchase by cities or anyone with a federal explosive license. Martin’s official authorization allowed his friend to circumvent those rules.
“Martin was aware that he was authorizing the purchase for an acquaintance for his own benefit,” state prosecutors said.
The case was investigated by multiple agencies including Prince George’s County police, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.
“We elect you and you have to be held accountable and that goes for everybody,” said District Heights resident Chris Minor. “Lock his ass up because he’s a criminal.”
Resident Tony Rivera said the mayor should get a lighter penalty for his crime.
“I believe in mercy,” he said. “I don’t think jail time. People get fined for stuff like that.”
District Heights is a small city in Prince George’s County with a population of about 6,000.