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Suspect Will Not Quit Planning Board Post

Ruthann Aron will not resign from the Montgomery County Planning Board and will fight any effort to impeach her, her attorney said yesterday.

“Am I right? You’re innocent until proven guilty,” Aron attorney Barry Helfand said. “That’s the last word I got. We’re going to operate on that word.”

County officials this week asked Mrs. Aron to resign. After mulling the idea, Mr. Helfand rejected it late Monday night.

The County Council will try to remove Mrs. Aron, council sources say. Under state law, the council appoints board members and may remove them, provided “the cause of removal shall be stated in writing and a public hearing held on the removal.”

Council President Marilyn Praisner, Calverton Democrat, refused to comment yesterday.

Mrs. Aron was arrested June 9. Police say she offered an undercover officer $20,000 to kill her husband, urologist Barry Aron, and lawyer Arthur G. Kahn, who represented Mrs. Aron’s opponents in an old lawsuit. She faces life in prison if convicted.

Mrs. Aron was considering changing from Republican to Democrat to run for the County Council next year. Conservative Democrats and business leaders had rallied behind her but now have distanced themselves.

The five-member Planning Board, which makes planning and zoning decisions in the county, has been scrambling to figure out how to carry on while one member short with Mrs. Aron in jail.

Mrs. Aron, 54, is being held without bond. A District Court judge last week refused to set bond or allow her to transfer to a psychiatric hospital for an evaluation.

Mrs. Aron is one of 45 women in a cellblock at the county jail. She shares a cell with another woman. During the day, the cell doors are open, and the inmates are free to interact in the common area.

Mr. Helfand said he will file for another bond hearing, which could happen as early as today.

“I will try to get her out,” he said Monday. “It is awful.”

The cells are not well-lighted, adding to Mrs. Aron’s depression, Mr. Helfand said.

Client Reviews
"I have watched Mr. Helfand in trial and in negotiations. He is remarkable. Mr. Helfand is extremely knowledgeable in the law, and even more knowledgeable in the ways to deal with people." Afshin Pishevar, Criminal Defense Attorney in Rockville, MD
"I strongly endorse this lawyer. I have known Mr. Helfand for many years. We have worked together on cases and represented conflicting parties. I have watched Mr. Helfand in trial and in negotiations. He is remarkable." David Felsen, Criminal Defense Attorney in Rockville, MD
"It’s one of the biggest cases that’s been tried in Montgomery County in a long time,” said Steve VanGrack, a Rockville lawyer considering a Democratic bid for state’s attorney." Washington Post