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Baltimore mayor guilty of 1 theft charge

BALTIMORE, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon was convicted Tuesday of a misdemeanor charge of stealing gift cards donated to poor children and families in her city.

After six days of deliberations, jurors in state court returned with a split verdict, The Baltimore Sun reported. Dixon was acquitted of official misconduct and felony theft, while the jury was unable to reach a verdict on a fraudulent misappropriation charge.

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Dixon faces up to five years in prison, but prosecutors have not said if they will ask for a custodial sentence. The state attorney general said the mayor can remain in office until she is sentenced.

"The city will still continue to move forward," Dixon said after the verdict. "This city will continue to run. ... We won't miss a step."

Dixon, then city council president, became mayor in 2006 when Martin O'Malley became governor of Maryland. She ran and won in 2007.

The charges against her involved gift cards a businessman said he donated for poor Baltimore residents. Dixon used them to buy electronics and other items, prosecutors said.

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