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BALTIMORE (AP) — The last time Darryl De Sousa raised his hand and swore under oath he was being authorized as Baltimore’s top police commander. On Monday, he took a very different kind of oath as he made his initial court appearance on criminal tax charges.

With over a dozen supporters watching in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Darryl De Sousa briefly appeared before a federal magistrate to hear a routine reading of the three misdemeanor charges against him. He was not required to enter a plea.

U.S. prosecutors allege that De Sousa “willfully” failed to file tax returns for 2013, 2014 and 2015. De Sousa has admitted his failure to file federal and state taxes for those years but has portrayed it as an oversight, saying he didn’t “sufficiently prioritize” his personal affairs at the time.

De Sousa resigned under pressure last week, less than four months into the job as Baltimore’s latest police commissioner. In recent days, federal prosecutors have sought years of De Sousa’s financial records from the city.

If convicted of each of the three misdemeanor charges, De Sousa faces up to three years in prison and a fine of at least $75,000.

During Monday’s court proceeding, Magistrate Judge Beth Gesner ordered De Sousa to surrender any firearms by Wednesday and told him he had to hand over his passport by June 7. He was released on condition that he remained living at his current residence, among a few other stipulations.

When asked if he had taken any substances over the last 24 hours that could impair his ability to understand the federal charges, De Sousa told the magistrate that he had a cocktail Sunday evening but “didn’t finish it.” He said he clearly understood the charges facing him.

De Sousa’s path from the corner office to the revolving door was speedy, even for a city accustomed to leadership instability in a beleaguered police force. For the time being, the city’s force is being led by an interim leader as a national search for the next commissioner gets under way.

Upon leaving the federal courthouse, prosecutors declined any comment, citing an ongoing criminal matter. De Sousa’s case is being handled by the same U.S. prosecutors who recently prosecuted eight members of a rogue Baltimore police unit called the Gun Trace Task Force.

De Sousa and his attorneys also made no immediate comment Monday. The ex-commissioner and about a dozen supporters spent roughly an hour clustered inside the lobby of the courthouse after the brief court proceeding. When they eventually exited, they walked past reporters and declined to respond to questions.


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