ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – A Maryland state senator facing federal bribery and obstruction of justice charges submitted a resignation letter Wednesday night.
Sen. Nathaniel Oaks met Wednesday evening with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. Jake Weissmann, a Miller spokesman, said Oaks gave the Senate president a letter stating he was resigning effective 9 a.m. Thursday.
“That’s all we have right now,” Weissmann told reporters outside Miller’s office after Oaks had left.
Oaks, a 71-year-old Baltimore Democrat, declined to answer questions from reporters. He has pleaded not guilty.
Oaks has a motions hearing scheduled before U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett in Baltimore on Thursday morning. Oaks’ attorneys didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment. A trial on the bribery allegations is scheduled for April 16, a week after the legislative session ends.
Oaks represented Baltimore in the House from 1983 until early 1989. In 1988, he was convicted of theft and misconduct in office charges for stealing thousands of dollars from his re-election fund. He received a five-year suspended sentence and lost his House seat as a result. But in 1994, Oaks was re-elected to the House, where he served until last year, when he was appointed to replace a senator who retired.
Oaks was indicted last year, but continued in the Maryland Senate even though he was removed from his post on the Senate Finance Committee last month.
He was indicted again and charged with obstruction of justice late last year after investigators say he tipped off the target of a federal investigation after he had agreed to cooperate with authorities.
Federal prosecutors allege the Baltimore Democrat took $15,300 in bribes from an informant posing as a Texas investor.
Court records show when a cooperating source had asked Oaks how much the senator should be paid for filing a $250,000 bond bill for a project, he asked the lawmaker: “How many lollipops should I bring” – a question Oaks avoided answering directly, saying he had faith in him. An affidavit says the source and Oaks had settled on “lollipop” as a code word for $1,000 stemming from the time he put a Tootsie Pop in his mount to halt open discussion of monetary amounts.
The case arose from an investigation dating to 2015, when Oaks was a member of the Maryland House representing a district in Baltimore.
This story has been corrected with the proper spelling of Weissmann.