Lawyers for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby sent a sharp rebuke Friday to the city inspector general, demanding she correct what they call “misstatements and inaccuracies” in her report faulting the prosecutor for her far-flung work trips.
In the letter, Mosby’s private attorneys challenged the inspector general’s conclusion that Baltimore’s top prosecutor should have sought approval before accepting invitations from groups that wanted to fly her around the world as a speaker and guest at conferences.
“Your Report makes it appear as though Mrs. Mosby was gallivanting around as a tourist. Her trips were work. The travel was exhausting and took her away from her family. Many of the trips occurred over weekends,” attorneys David Shuster and Andrew Graham wrote.
They attached to their letter a photo of the inspector general herself at a work trip last year in Atlanta, Georgia.
“It is quite common for elected officials, agency heads, and policymakers to travel and gather together as a normal part of their jobs,” they wrote. “You know this firsthand.”
Their letter continues a tense back-and-forth between the city’s top prosecutor and the office that investigates public fraud and misconduct in Baltimore. Mosby requested the investigation in July amid questions about her trips abroad and revelations that she formed travel and hospitality companies while in office, and did not initially include them in her state financial disclosures.
On Tuesday, Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming issued the results of her seven-month investigation into Mosby, finding the prosecutor spent 144 days away in 2018 and 2019 — or one workday a week.
The inspector general also found Mosby deducted $5,000 in business expenses on her federal taxes for losses associated with a private travel company that she started. Mosby has said her private companies exist in name only without clients or revenues.
Cumming said Friday her report requires no correction.
“My report speaks for itself,” she said. “I was asked to do a full investigation into her travel, gifts and companies — and we did that. I will not waste taxpayer dollars by continuing this.”
One issue is whether Mosby should have sought permission from the Board of Estimates for her travels. Mosby’s attorneys cited the city administrative manual, saying approval is required only when an elected official seeks reimbursement from taxpayers.
Cumming cited the same manual, saying approval is required for travel abroad or when trips exceed five days or $800 — no matter who’s footing the bill.
Maryland Policy & Politics
Mosby reported traveling to Kenya, Portugal, Germany and Scotland as a guest and speaker at criminal-justice conventions. Upon returning from Kenya, Mosby’s Baltimore police security detail picked her up at Dulles International Airport and drove her to a luxury spa in Virginia for another conference.
Her husband accompanied her on a July 2019 trip to a United Steelworkers conference in Minneapolis; they then flew together to a prosecutors’ conference in San Jose, California, according to the inspector general’s report. The steelworkers paid for their meals and flights, the inspector general wrote. The next month, Mosby’s husband, the recently elected City Council President Nick Mosby, and their children accompanied her on a trip to an education conference in Bloomington, Minnesota. The A. Philip Randolph Institute paid for the family’s trip.
Nonprofits such as Fair and Just Prosecution and the Vera Institute of Justice also paid for her travels. Mosby generally disclosed her travels to the State Ethics Commission, the inspector general found.
Comptroller Bill Henry asked the city solicitor to research and report back on whether elected officials need approval for trips funded by private organizations.
Cumming said she will accept the conclusion of the law department.
She issued her 11-page findings Tuesday; Mosby’s lawyers challenged her with their nine-page rebuttal Friday.
“Your report uses the phrase ‘physically absent’ as if to suggest that Mrs. Mosby was somehow not doing her job or missing in action,” they wrote. “Whether she was physically in her office, or traveling on work related trips, or working remotely by virtue of the pandemic — as many people are doing — she was always on the job and fully engaged in the responsibilities of her Office. It is regrettable that you couched your Report in a way to suggest otherwise.”