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Baltimore solicitor won’t say if city agencies got a subpoena in federal tax investigation of the Mosbys

The Baltimore solicitor won’t say whether any city agencies have received a federal grand jury subpoena in the criminal tax investigation of Council President Nick Mosby and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

Further, the city solicitor’s office has declined requests filed by The Baltimore Sun for any such document under the Maryland Public Information Act.

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Last month, City Solicitor Jim Shea told The Sun that city agencies had not received a subpoena. Shea also said he was unaware of any city staff receiving subpoenas beyond Nick Mosby.

Now, however, the solicitor won’t confirm or deny whether any city agency has been subpoenaed. Shea said he hasn’t changed course, but reviewed the law and concluded that he should keep such matters confidential.

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“The question put that issue on my radar, and I took a look at what the law is. One should not comment on that one way or the other,” he said.

Shea declined to comment further. A spokesman for Mayor Brandon Scott declined to comment.

Federal prosecutors have opened a criminal tax investigation into the Mosbys and issued subpoenas for their financial records, including documents related to their political campaigns, private businesses and charitable donations.

The Sun requested copies Tuesday of any such subpoena issued to city offices.

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Law Department attorney Hilary Ruley denied the newspaper’s request. She wrote that state law granted her the discretion to withhold any subpoena if she believed its disclosure would not be in the public interest or interfere with a pending investigation.

She also argued that federal law prohibited her from releasing such a subpoena. The city was neither confirming nor denying the existence of a subpoena, she wrote.

Federal rules prohibit prosecutors, grand jurors and court staff from disclosing any matter before a grand jury. That prohibition does not extend to witnesses subpoenaed to testify or to provide documents to a grand jury.

Meanwhile, Ruley did provide The Sun surveillance camera footage of federal agents entering City Hall and heading for Nick Mosby’s office. The footage was sought in a separate request under the Public Information Act.

Documents in the possession of local government are typically considered public records under state law. And local governments have provided subpoenas they received in the past. When the state prosecutor was investigating the City of Aberdeen more than a decade ago, city officials turned over their subpoena in response to an open records request from The Sun.

The federal grand jury investigation into the Mosbys was disclosed in a subpoena sent to Marilyn Mosby’s campaign treasurer, which he forwarded in an email to state election officials. The Sun obtained that document last month through a records request with the state.

The Mosbys’ attorney, A. Scott Bolden, has said investigators are pursuing the couple in a federal, criminal tax investigation that amounts to “a political witch hunt in its purest form.”

Bolden issued a statement when news of the investigation was first reported by The Sun. He said he advised the couple to refrain from commenting on the matter.

“Both of them will vigorously, and fully defend themselves,” Bolden wrote in the statement. “As they’ve done with every other baseless charge and investigation lodged against them, they have every intent to fully cooperate with the investigation, to fight for the truth to come out, while continuing to fight for the citizens of a city that they both love, and are blessed to serve.”

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