An assistant Maryland attorney general who won a high-profile job in the Baltimore Police Department alleged in a state filing that the offer was pulled after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby — who she previously accused of perjury — threw a “tantrum" in phone calls to Police Commissioner Michael Harrison.
The claim, obtained by The Baltimore Sun through a public records request, prompted a negotiated settlement between Assistant Attorney General Michelle Wilson and the city for $75,000 last month. In the claim, Wilson’s attorney blasted Mosby and Harrison for their handling of the situation, arguing Wilson’s prior civil testimony about Mosby, provided “under threat of subpoena," should never have been considered in the police hiring process.
“In taking the obvious risks of stating under oath that a powerful person had lied in court, Ms. Wilson demonstrated the integrity that would have served her well as Deputy Commissioner for Public Integrity," wrote her attorney, Charles P. Scheeler. "In rescinding her offer, Baltimore City Police Department again demonstrated that it remains allergic to the integrity sorely needed for a restoration of public trust.
“Ms. Wilson was denied employment solely because she exercised her First Amendment right to testify truthfully under oath about a corrupt public official — one who lied on the stand to protect her reputation and avoid liability,” Scheeler wrote. Wilson is an assistant attorney general in the office of Brian Frosh.
Scheeler’s account provides the fullest picture yet of what allegedly occurred last May, when Baltimore Police offered Wilson a job and then rescinded in a matter of days, embarrassing her and the police department and shining a spotlight once more on claims of perjury by the city’s top prosecutor.
Zy Richardson, a spokeswoman for Mosby, said in a statement Tuesday that Wilson’s allegation that Mosby lied on the stand was false, and, given that, Mosby “felt duty-bound” to tell Harrison that she had concerns about Wilson’s “credibility" upon hearing that he had hired her to lead his public integrity office.
“It is crucial for the Office of the State’s Attorney, given the unique role we play in promoting police integrity, to have trustworthy partners on the critical demands of police accountability,” Richardson said. “The State’s Attorney shared the facts of this situation with the Baltimore Police Commissioner. The decision over how to handle such information was entirely in his hands.”
Harrison’s office referred all questions to City Solicitor Andre Davis, who declined to comment. Frosh’s office, which rehired Wilson, also declined to comment.
Scheeler said “the document speaks for itself,” and declined to make Wilson available for an interview.
At the time the department rescinded its offer to Wilson, many in Baltimore speculated it was related to her claims against Mosby, but the department would not confirm that. Mosby’s office said it wasn’t aware of the rescinding of the offer, and it would be willing to work with anyone to reduce violent crime.
Last month, when the city reached its settlement with Wilson, officials again would not comment on the underlying factors — and denied The Sun’s public records request for documents pertaining to the settlement. Davis argued disclosure "could prejudice the city’s ability to resolve disputes and discourage or undermine attempts by those similarly situated from attempting to resolve those disputes if they knew such fulsome, dual-purpose correspondence was to be made public.”
However, the office of Maryland State Treasurer Nancy Kopp — which had received Scheeler’s “notice of claim” as a warning of pending litigation in September — provided the document Tuesday under a separate records request.
In the 14-page claim, Scheeler described an Alliance of Black Women Attorneys of Maryland event in 2014 where Wilson and current Administrative Judge Syeetah Hampton-El both alleged Mosby made a “throat-slitting gesture” toward Hampton-El — which they took as a political warning in the run-up to the election that won Mosby her office. Scheeler wrote that multiple other attorneys at the table also acknowledged the gesture at the time.
When Wilson later learned that Mosby testified under oath in a civil case earlier this year that the gesture was never made, she "was angered that the Baltimore City State’s Attorney so brazenly perjured herself in the very court where she is responsible for enforcing and upholding the laws of the state of Maryland,” Scheeler wrote.
Wilson posted on Facebook the same day, alleging Mosby lied, her attorney wrote. She later provided a written declaration after being asked to do so, in lieu of being subpoenaed, by an attorney in the civil case.
Scheeler then described the Baltimore Police letting Wilson go after it publicly announced her as the first black woman deputy commissioner overseeing public integrity and internal affairs. Scheeler said the sequence caused her “substantial economic and non-economic damages" including lost wages and "damage to her professional reputation.”
Just minutes after the May news conference announcing her hiring, Wilson and Harrison were in Harrison’s office when Mosby called, Scheeler wrote.
Harrison told Wilson that Mosby was “upset” by his choice of Wilson because of Wilson’s claims on Facebook and in her sworn declaration that Mosby had lied under oath, Scheeler wrote.
At first, Harrison said Mosby’s objections were “not a big deal,” and went on to introduce Wilson to his command staff as the next deputy commissioner, Scheeler wrote. But later that day, back in Harrison’s office, Mosby called again and “continued to complain about Ms. Wilson’s hiring," the attorney wrote.
“It sounded to Ms. Wilson like Ms. Mosby wanted Ms. Wilson fired before she had a chance to start,” and was throwing a “tantrum” to have her way, Scheeler wrote. The next day, Harrison called Wilson back into his office and rescinded her job offer with no reason offered other than the dust up with Mosby, Scheeler wrote.
“Nothing was discovered during the background check which raised concerns about Ms. Wilson’s fitness for the role,” Scheeler wrote. “But Ms. Wilson was advised that it ‘wouldn’t look good’ if the Deputy Commissioner for Public Integrity testified against the State’s Attorney" or "accused Ms. Mosby under oath of being a liar.”
Harrison told Wilson that he had known about her posting the Mosby allegations on Facebook prior to hiring her, but hadn’t known about the sworn declaration, which in an “oversight” she had failed to mention, Scheeler wrote.
Harrison “did not contend that Ms. Wilson was untruthful in the declaration” about Mosby’s throat-slitting gesture, Scheeler wrote. Nonetheless, she was out of a job — and without any public explanation as to why.
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That’s because the only answer, Scheeler wrote, was that Wilson had “had the temerity to submit a truthful declaration under oath contradicting Ms. Mosby’s sworn testimony."