xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Former state investigator questions payment from Marilyn Mosby election committee to her private lawyers

The former political-corruption investigator for Maryland has asked the state prosecutor to investigate a $3,250 payment made by the election campaign of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby to her personal lawyers.

In an email to the state prosecutor, James Cabezas wrote that the payment is not allowed under the law.

Advertisement

“I literally investigated thousands of alleged violations of the Maryland Election Code. As such, I feel absolutely certain that Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is prohibited from using monies from her campaign fund,” he wrote.

The Sept. 20 payment went to the Baltimore law firm of Kramon & Graham. Andrew Graham is one of the top attorneys in Maryland for lawyers and judges facing ethical or legal issues. Mosby hired the firm as her personal lawyers to represent her during a seven-month investigation by the Baltimore inspector general into her travel, gifts and businesses.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Graham previously represented one of the officers charged by Mosby in the death of Freddie Gray.

Mosby, who earns nearly $240,000 a year as the city’s top prosecutor, did not return a message through a spokeswoman Tuesday. Her attorneys from the firm did not respond either. A spokeswoman for her office told The Baltimore Sun last week the office was not paying for her lawyers.

The $3,250 payment was disclosed on a campaign finance report filed last month. A report Tuesday by the Baltimore Brew caused Cabezas to request the investigation, he wrote in the letter.

The Friends of Marilyn Mosby campaign issued a statement Tuesday evening saying it initially considered the inspector general’s investigation a campaign matter because it dealt with her “electoral viability.”

Advertisement

“Once the scope of the investigation evolved and expanded, it became increasingly clear that it was a legal matter that encompassed more than her electoral viability, which is why she ceased using campaign funds,” according to the statement. “There was never an intent to mislead, which is why she reported the initial expense of $3250 in her routine campaign finance disclosures.”

The statement went on to say it “sought advice from the State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission to establish an appropriate mechanism to set up a legal defense fund for the tens of thousands of dollars in additional costs.”

Jared DeMarinis, the director of campaign finance for the state elections board, referred to state elections laws.

“It is prohibited for any candidate or political committee to use campaign funds for legal or other expenses related to investigations or court proceedings that do not have a direct connection with the candidacy,” according to the state code. “Non-campaign-related legal costs are considered ‘personal’ expenses for purposes of the campaign finance laws.”

In the past, impermissible expenses have been resolved by a candidate repaying the committee, DeMarinis said.

Mosby herself requested the investigation by the inspector general amid questions last summer about her many work trips and the private travel company she started while in office.

Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming issued her report last week. She found Mosby was gone from her office for 144 days in 2018 and 2019, traveling to conferences and professional retreats in exotic locations such as Kenya, Scotland and Portugal. Criminal justice nonprofit groups flew Mosby around the world as a featured guest and speaker at their conferences.

The inspector general concluded Mosby should have sought approval from the city’s spending panel for her travels, even when the city wasn’t picking up any of the costs.

Baltimore Comptroller Bill Henry asked the city solicitor to research and settle the matter.

Also Tuesday, Cumming publicly defended her determinations, publishing dozens of pages of records of such travel requests made by city officials.

Former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake asked the Board of Estimates for permission when the government of Qatar wanted to fly her over for a conference. Former Mayor Catherine Pugh requested approval when a renewable energy nonprofit wanted to fly her to its conference near West Palm Beach, Florida. City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett asked for approval when a nonprofit wanted to fly him to its conference in Austin, Texas.

“A review of precedent shows the well-established practice of submitting travel requests to the BOE for approval despite no City funds being spent,” Cumming wrote.

Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement