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Crime

Federal judge denies Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s motion to dismiss charges against her; case to go on

A federal judge on Thursday rejected Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s request to dismiss the charges against her, finding her attorneys failed to present any objective evidence the case against her is prejudiced.

The judge’s decision to dismiss the motion came the same day Mosby, a Democrat, formally filed to run for reelection.

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Mosby’s lawyers previously argued in court papers that her indictment should be dismissed on the grounds of vindictive prosecution and racial animus, that Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise, who is leading Mosby’s prosecution, should be prohibited from trying the case, and that the government must provide more specific information to support the charges.

U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby denied all the motions, saying most of Mosby’s allegations against Wise and the U.S. Attorney’s Office amounted to a “difference of opinion.” Prosecutors and Mosby’s defense gave about two hours worth of arguments in court, with Griggsby often interjecting with questions, seeking greater specificity in their statements.

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A grand jury indicted Mosby on Jan. 13, charging her with two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements on loan applications to buy a pair of properties in Florida: an eight-bedroom house near Disney World and a condo on the state’s Gulf Coast. Her husband, Democratic City Council President Nick Mosby, has not been charged.

Last week, Griggsby postponed Marilyn Mosby’s trial from May 2 to Sept. 19 after the defense walked back its earlier demands for a speedy trial.

Mosby has pleaded not guilty.

Mosby arrived at the courthouse to the cheers of supporters. She walked into the courtroom and exchanged pleasantries with court staff and waved to people she recognized. She sat between her lawyers and took notes during the proceedings, sometimes shaking her head when Wise spoke.

She addressed reporters on the courthouse steps after the hearing. Standing with her husband and with her lead attorney, A. Scott Bolden, Mosby mischaracterized Griggsby’s ruling, saying the judge had accepted most of the defense’s arguments as fact.

Griggsby did not.

In one instance, the judge described the defense’s arguments as “problematic.” She said Bolden did not prove Wise has any personal or racial animus toward Mosby. Bolden argued Wise has a history of selectively investigating and prosecuting Black public officials.

“Are you aware of any evidence that shows Mr. Wise has prosecuted someone because of their race? Black official or not?” Griggsby asked Bolden.

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“I am not,” he replied.

Despite Bolden acknowledging in court that he had no evidence Wise is a racist prosecutor, Mosby again claimed racial animus afterward.

“Leo Wise has a history of racial animus-based prosecution that predates me and has been seen in the city of Baltimore since his existence here,” Mosby said.

Wise said in court that Mosby “utterly failed” to prove her claims of vindictive prosecution and that the attacks on his credibility were a political ploy, comparing her rhetoric to that of former Republican President Donald Trump.

“It’s all a plan to delegitimize anyone who has the temerity to question her behavior,” Wise said in court. “It’s just like what Trump did.”

During arguments against Mosby’s motions, prosecutors revealed more of the case against Mosby, with Wise calling the evidence “overwhelming” and her conduct “egregious.”

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According to her indictment, Mosby committed perjury by applying for early withdrawals from her city retirement savings account under the guise of having suffered financial hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic, which made her eligible to take out money early under the federal CARES Act.

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Before the CARES Act, state and city employees could not access their retirement accounts before retiring unless they stopped working for the government or experienced an “unforeseeable emergency.”

Prosecutors have troves of financial documents and have recordings of her phone calls to the company that manages the city retirement accounts, and Wise said Mosby’s bank account activity from the time of the withdrawals proves she did not suffer financial hardship because of the pandemic.

Mosby used the $81,000 to make down payments on the properties in Florida, according to her indictment. Prosecutor say she neglected to mention a federal tax lien on a mortgage application and claimed the property near Orlando would be a second home when she had already lined up a management company to run it as a rental, a maneuver intended to secure a lower interest rate, according to her indictment.

Bolden acknowledged in court that Mosby planned to rent the home out and signed an agreement with a rental company, but said that did not amount to mortgage fraud because the management company had to get her approval before renting the home.

Despite Bolden’s spirited arguments in court — he often interrupted Griggsby when speaking and gave impassioned opening remarks —Mosby conceded afterward she did not actually expect the motions to be successful.

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“We did not expect to prevail,” Mosby said. “However, I look forward to my day in court.”

Bolden said he was “more disappointed than surprised” with the judge’s decision.


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