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Baltimore Mayor Pugh not 'lucid' enough to decide on resignation, per attorney; choice may come next week

Amid raids by the FBI and IRS and renewed calls for her to resign, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh remains in poor health and is not “lucid” enough to decide whether to resign, her attorney said late Thursday afternoon.

She could, however, decide next week, attorney Steve Silverman said.

“She is leaning toward making the best decision in the best interest in the citizens of Baltimore City,” he said.

He admitted she was confronting disappointment with the prospect of resignation.

“Her biggest regret is that some of these programs, she will not be able to ensure they are implemented and can see themselves through.”

Silverman addressed reporters after emerging from an hourlong meeting with the mayor at her home on Ellamont Road in Ashburton, which was raided by the FBI and the IRS on Thursday — as were City Hall, another home Pugh owns and offices of the mayor’s allies.

He said she met with her doctor at home Thursday and plans to do so again Friday.

Pugh announced April 1 that she was taking an indefinite leave of absence to recover from a case of pneumonia that left her hospitalized for five days. The leave came amid the growing controversy over sales of her self-published “Healthy Holly” children’s books.

Pugh remained at home Thursday during the raid.

Silverman said the controversy has made it more difficult for Pugh to recover her health, and that she now has bronchitis in addition to pneumonia. He said the mayor and her attorneys on Thursday discussed the option of her stepping down to focus on her recovery.

“She is generally aware that there is a consensus that she should resign,” Silverman said. “For people to make material decisions in their life, they have to be at a certain level of stability.”

He said he had not seen the federal search warrant for the raid on Pugh’s home. But he said he was not concerned about the items removed during the search.

Complete coverage: Mayor Pugh's 'Healthy Holly' scandal »

“There was nothing incriminating that came out of her home,” Silverman said.

Calls for Pugh to resign have been mounting. On April 8, the 14-member City Council submitted a letter urging her to resign.

Within hours, she responded by saying she “fully intends” to return once her health improves.

As General Assembly business wound to a close, the House delegation called on her to resign.

On April 12, the Greater Baltimore Committee — the influential group of business and civic leaders — issued a call for her to resign, saying she no longer has “public trust or moral authority.”

After the raids Thursday, Gov. Larry Hogan joined the chorus.

“Now more than ever, Baltimore City needs strong and responsible leadership,” the Republican Hogan said in a statement. “Mayor Pugh has lost the public trust. She is clearly not fit to lead.”

Hogan said Pugh, a Democrat, must resign for the good of the city.

Two Baltimore members of Congress, Reps. Elijah Cummings and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, urged Pugh to act — in Ruppersberger’s words — in the “best interests” of the city, although neither used the word “resign.”

Cummings, a Democrat, urged Pugh “to put the best interests of the City and its residents first and foremost.”

The 13-term representative said Baltimore “needs and deserves leadership that is above reproach and which can lead the City forward in ways that engender the trust and confidence of all essential stakeholders.”

Cummings said that “no one questions Mayor Pugh’s passion for Baltimore City and its citizens. At the same time, the circumstances now require that she also provide an example of accountability for those same people.”

Ruppersberger, a former prosecutor whose district includes portions of the city, said, “The events of this morning indicate that Mayor Pugh can no longer provide the laser-focused leadership the city needs to address its many challenges, including crime, housing and the opioid crisis.”

The statement of Ruppersberger, also a Democrat, said Baltimore “deserves a leader who can focus 100 percent on the city. I believe Mayor Pugh’s love and passion for the city are genuine and I urge her to take the actions that are in its best interests and not hers.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Ian Duncan contributed to this article.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6

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