Maryland’s new chief corruption prosecutor has been sworn in.
Charlton T. Howard III was appointed to the State Prosecutor position by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) earlier this month.
Howard will head the Office of the State Prosecutor, which investigates and prosecutes state-level political corruption.
His appointment comes after the retirement of Emmet C. Davitt, who held the job for nine years before stepping down this summer.
Howard previously worked as an assistant attorney general overseeing the statewide child support enforcement program. Before that he was an assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore City, assigned to the Major Investigations Unit, and also worked 22 years as a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in locations throughout the world. He retired from the military as NCIS Executive Assistant Director.
Howard is a 1980 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a 1988 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law.
“I am honored and humbled to assume this important role, and will do my best to combat public corruption and preserve the integrity of Maryland’s governmental institutions and political process,” Howard said in a statement.
The Office of the State Prosecutor is a unique fixture of Maryland government, established by a Constitutional amendment in 1976, as the state grappled with corruption cases against former Gov. Spiro T. Agnew (R) and then-Gov. Marvin Mandel (D). The office is based in Towson and has a modest-sized staff — including seven investigators and three prosecutors.
During Davitt’s tenure, the office pursued the successful prosecutions of former Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance and former Anne Arundel County executive John R. Leopold (R). Davitt prosecuted Paul E. Schurick and Julius Henson, the campaign manager and political consultant to former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich (R), for election fraud charges that stemmed from a 2010 Election Day robocall to thousands of Democrats in Prince George’s county and the city of Baltimore, encouraging them to stay home and “relax” instead of heading out to vote. In 2017, the former mayor of Marydel was convicted of stealing more than $61,000 in town funds and sentenced to nine years in prison. In 2018, the office indicted 18 people for corruption at the Jessup Correctional Facility.
Most recently, the office assisted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland in an investigation of former Baltimore mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D).