Leonardtown, MD- On the eve of the 2022 Primary election, St. Mary’s County States Attorney Richard Fritz finds himself in another questionable act.

Maryland-based The Duckpin investigation shows that some posts on the official St. Mary’s County States Attorney’s Facebook page were altered to remove former Deputy Chief of Staff Jaymi Sterling’s name. Sterling is facing current States Attorney Richard Fritz for the Republican nomination. Due to no Democrat challenger, this race will be decided in the primary on July 19, 2022. Fritz has been the St. Mary’s County States Attorney since 2004. Sterling currently works at the Anne Arundel County States Attorney’s Office but spent the previous ten years with Fritz, even serving as his Deputy Chief of Staff.

The Southern Maryland Chronicle proceeded to investigate independently and went to the States Attorney’s Facebook page. You can click the inverted caret on public pages and select “See edit History” of individual posts.

The Southern Maryland Chronicle uncovered twelve instances of the States Attorney’s Office editing posts to either remove Jaymi Sterling’s name or remove images that contained Sterling. The majority of posts were official press releases.

Every one of the images above shows Sterling’s name removed on or about December 2, 2020. Sterling resigned from the States Attorney’s Office in September 2020. In several, it also shows that image(s) have been removed, presumably of Sterling. Some removed ones state that Sterling was the prosecutor or worked with Fritz. The edited ones, in turn, give credit to Fritz for successful prosecutions.

Fritz has campaigned on “integrity” and his caseload.

Fritz recently posted an image on Facebook regarding Sterling:

Credit: Facebook

The Southern Maryland Chronicle has obtained documents showing that Fritz signed off on Sterling’s promotion and raise. As for the remaining “reasons” Fritz lists, none can be verified as personnel files, and medical records are not public.

The letter clearly shows that Fritz was aware of Sterling’s salary increase.

Fritz is no stranger to controversy so near to an election. In 1998, The St. Mary’s Today sued him for violating 1st Amendment rights. The case stemmed from an article about Fritz being convicted of a sexual-based crime in 1964. In 2010, he investigated a campaign opponent, filing charges that were eventually dropped. In 2020, Sterling claimed ethical issues and questionable financial practices and abruptly resigned.

While the ethics and integrity of the Office can be debated from the above evidence, The Southern Maryland Chronicle has reached out to the Attorney General for the State of Maryland on the legality of altering press releases/social media posts without corrections issued to the public. Courts have ruled that Government pages are not allowed to block or delete critics’ comments. The legality of altering these posts in what appears to be a retaliatory effort remains unclear. We will update more when we received a response from Attorney General.

The 2022 Maryland Primary election will be held Tuesday, July 19, 2022.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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