BALTIMORE — A federal judge has agreed to give a Maryland state senator two separate trials on fraud and obstruction of justice charges.

Sen. Nathaniel Oaks, a Democrat from Baltimore, was charged over allegations he took payments from an FBI source posing as a Texas businessman in exchange for helping him with a construction project. When agents confronted Oaks, prosecutors say he confessed to taking the payments and agreed to help investigate another man.

In a later indictment, Oaks was charged with obstruction for allegedly tipping off the target of the investigation.

Lawyers for Oaks argued that linking the two cases would mean he would not receive a fair trial.

The Baltimore Sun reports that a judge ruled Friday that there was too little connection between the two to hear them together.


Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com