Former state Delegate Cheryl Glenn was sentenced to two years in federal prison Wednesday for accepting nearly $34,000 in bribes in exchange for political favors.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake said during a virtual sentencing hearing she had to balance Glenn’s offense with her personal history of accomplishment and the need for deterrence.
“The days of Maryland politicians soliciting envelopes stuffed with cash should be long gone. But sadly, they are not,” she said. “And the citizens of this state need to know they will be fairly punished.”
Glenn’s lawyer, William Brennan, had asked that the 69-year-old Democrat, who represented a swath of Northeast Baltimore from 2007 until she resigned earlier this year, be sentenced to home detention. He cited age and medical history, including respiratory problems, to argue that she would be particularly susceptible to the coronavirus in prison.
He said during the hearing that she had risen from domestic violence and homelessness at the age of 13 to lead an exemplary life. She had been in a stable, loving marriage that ended six years ago when her husband died after a heart attack and a stroke, leaving her “a widow, alone” and in “extreme financial hardship.”
Prosecutors had recommended a sentence of three years, arguing that Glenn had not “succumbed to temptation,” as Brennan claimed in his sentencing memorandum, but that she actively solicited the bribes.
Glenn is “a corrupt politician,” Assistant US Attorney Leo Wise argued during the hearing. “She has done good in her life, but she has also done great harm.”
The good, he said, does not outdo the harm in abusing the power of her office. “It demands a prison sentence.”
Glenn pleaded guilty in January to accepting five bribes totaling $33,750 to push legislation dealing with medical marijuana licenses, opioid clinics and liquor licenses.
She said during the hearing in federal court in Baltimore that she was “profoundly remorseful” for what she had done. Choking back tears, she said she accepts “full responsibility” for her conduct.”
Glenn is to begin serving her sentence Sept. 21