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Baltimore City

Five takeaways from recent filings in Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s federal criminal case

Lawyers for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby have filed a trio of legal motions as they seek to mount a defense against the federal charges she faces.

Mosby’s defense attorneys attached a range of documents to support their pleadings, the most expansive being a long-shot legal argument for a judge to dismiss the case because of alleged prosecutorial bias.

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The two-term Democratic state’s attorney is charged with two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements on loan applications to buy a pair of properties in Florida.

Here are five takeaways from the more than 100 pages of documents:

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Maryland U.S. Attorney Erek Barron’s alleged comments

Sheaniqua A. Thompson, a top City Hall adviser for Marilyn Mosby’s husband, City Council President Nick Mosby, submitted a declaration in support of Marilyn Mosby’s lawyers’ attempt to have the indictment thrown out.

Thompson drew on her memory of the time she worked with Maryland U.S. Attorney Erek Barron from 2017 to 2019 while he was a Democratic state delegate and she was a lobbyist as the senior policy advocate at the Job Opportunities Task Force.

In the written statement, Thompson paraphrased a conversation she said she had with Barron outside a legislative committee room after Marilyn Mosby walked by.

“I expressed admiration for her,” Thompson recalled. “He responded first by discussing rumors about State’s Attorney Mosby’s sex life, and then commented: ‘I don’t understand all the hype around her, I don’t get it. She was my intern and I don’t get how she got where she is.’”

Thompson said Barron “would tell me how much he disliked working with State’s Attorney Mosby, and how he didn’t like her style and approach.”

Marilyn Mosby’s attorneys said the statement from Thompson shows that Barron harbors animosity toward Mosby, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise, who is prosecuting Mosby, and argued that her charges should be dismissed because the indictment wouldn’t have come unless the federal prosecutors were vindictive.

The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment over the weekend, and Barron didn’t respond to a separate request.

Before Mosby’s lawyers called out Barron in publicly available motions, attorneys and legal observers in Baltimore had raised concerns that Mosby’s indictment could strain the relationship between the office of the Baltimore state’s attorney and the U.S. attorney’s office.

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Documents detail an Attorney Grievance Commission probe cited by Mosby’s lawyers as the genesis of the federal case

The documents provide insights into an investigation of Mosby by the Attorney Grievance Commission led by bar counsel Lydia Lawless, who Mosby’s lawyers have said referred her investigation to federal prosecutors.

Emails included in the federal case exhibits show what information Lawless was after. After receiving Mosby’s tax returns for tax years 2014 through 2019, Lawless in November 2020 requested documents substantiating Mosby’s charitable donations for those years, as well as business records for the Baltimore power couple’s private businesses.

In the same request, Lawless also sought all correspondence between Nick Mosby and the IRS concerning tax years 2014 through 2018.

Marilyn Mosby’s lawyers at the time said the state’s attorney agreed to supply documents about the businesses, but said Lawless didn’t have the authority to request more tax records and that they could only ask Nick Mosby for more information, as Marilyn Mosby’s lawyers didn’t represent him.

Marilyn Mosby’s lawyers during the grievance commission probe declined to turn over documents about the charitable donations, and noted that Nick Mosby already supplied an affidavit.

Marilyn Mosby’s lawyers in the federal case, led by A. Scott Bolden, accused Lawless of conspiring with Wise, the lead assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting Mosby, to pursue Mosby’s case because they share a “disdain” for Mosby. They contend Lawless referred the investigation to Wise. This is not a new theory from Mosby’s defense, but the defense attorneys said an email from Wise included in the documents proved it.

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An excerpt from an email included part of a back and forth between Mosby’s lawyers and federal prosecutors in which Wise wrote, “We reiterate that the Bar Counsel’s investigation raised numerous questions related to your client’s taxes.”

Nick Mosby took blame for the couple’s tax woes

Nick Mosby attested in the affidavit supplied in the Attorney Grievance Commission probe that he was responsible for filing the couple’s federal income taxes from 2014 to 2018, and that his tax liabilities led to federal tax deficiencies.

Marilyn Mosby reviewed the tax return forms only to confirm her income figures before signing, according to Nick Mosby’s affidavit.

In that affidavit, Nick Mosby said his wife was unaware of withdrawals he took from his 401(k) without withholding enough taxes, the resulting tax liability, and installment payment plans he established with the Internal Revenue Service.

Nick Mosby also said he did not inform his wife of the tax issues they faced until he learned of a $45,000 tax lien against them after being contacted by a Baltimore Sun reporter in October 2020.

At the time, Marilyn Mosby’s lawyer described her as “an innocent spouse that did not know about the 2014-2018 tax issues stemming from her husband’s efforts to deal with the tax issues on his own and to conceal his efforts from my client.”

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Marilyn Mosby is now charged federally with making a false statement on loan applications to buy properties in Florida, in part, by failing to disclose the tax lien. Her indictment also includes two counts of perjury.

Marilyn Mosby received income from and accrued expenses related to her husband’s business

Lawless also sought records pertaining to the private businesses of the City Council president and state’s attorney.

In a letter to Marilyn Mosby’s attorney seeking more documents, Lawless revealed the state’s attorney took in money and accrued expenses related to her husband’s now-defunct consulting business, Monumental Squared LLC. She reported a gross income of $3,600 and $9,900 in tax year 2017, and $49,227 in gross income and $52,371 in expenses in tax year 2018.

Additionally, the document notes that Mosby in 2019 “reported $0 for gross income and $5,000 in expenses for Mahogany Elite Enterprises LLC.” That’s the holding company for Marilyn Mosby’s travel and consulting businesses, Mahogany Elite Consulting and Mahogany Elite Travel.

A spokeswoman for Mosby previously said the company had been on paper only, and that there were no plans to operate the company while she was state’s attorney.

Mosby’s attorney accuses feds of leaks to the media

In a May 19 letter to Jeffrey Ragsdale, director and chief counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility, Bolden accused the U.S. attorney’s office of tipping the media off about subpoenas issued in its investigation of the Mosbys.

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He said the FBI was brazen to have agents interrupt a City Council meeting to serve Nick Mosby with a subpoena, which Bolden says happened at federal prosecutors’ direction.

The FBI agents visited City Hall on a day that Nick Mosby led a city Board of Estimates meeting, not a City Council meeting. That virtual, livestreamed meeting ran two hours and 23 minutes without any apparent interruption, according to a video of the event, which did not show agents with Mosby.

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Bolden goes on to say that the FBI’s presence at City Hall was publicly known, but not that Mosby was served with a subpoena, “suggesting that someone on the prosecution team leaked the existence of the subpoena to the media.”

“As a direct result of the FBI’s intentional lack of discretion, that same night, Fox News sent a media inquiry to Council President Mosby’s office requesting comment on not only the FBI investigation, but also the subpoena that was served on him,” the letter said.

Bolden further claims federal prosecutors were leaking to the media because, he said, “Mosby was made aware by a reporter in October 2020 that she was under investigation.”

The Baltimore Sun reported in October 2020 that the IRS placed a $45,000 tax lien against the Mosbys’ property, according to records filed in Baltimore Circuit Court.

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In March 2021, The Sun obtained a federal grand jury subpoena through a Maryland Public Information Act request that showed federal prosecutors had opened a criminal investigation into the Mosbys. Marilyn Mosby’s campaign treasurer had forwarded the subpoena to state elections officials, along with an email about the use of campaign funds for legal fees.

Bolden accused Wise of communicating with the media, specifically “a reporter with knowledge of the investigation has a close relationship with him and also authored a book on the GTTF Prosecution — a prosecution led by Mr. Wise.”

Former Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton published “We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption” in 2021 on the Gun Trace Task Force scandal.


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