Baltimore city prosecutor convicted of federal charges | Courthouse News Service
Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Baltimore city prosecutor convicted of federal charges

After being found guilty of lying to obtain city funds to purchase vacation homes in Florida, Marilyn Mosby faces up to five years in prison each for two counts of perjury.

BALTIMORE (CN) — A federal jury convicted a former Baltimore City State's Attorney Thursday of two counts of perjury after falsifying an application to withdraw retirement funds early during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to buy two vacation homes in Florida.

Jurors took about seven hours to convict Marilyn Mosby, 43, on both counts of the indictment. The charges each bring a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Mosby was accused in January 2022 of lying about her finances to purchase an eight-bedroom house near Disney World and a Gulf Coast condominium using $90,000 withdrawn from the city retirement plan and by lying on her mortgage documents.

In both mortgage applications, Mosby falsely claimed she did not owe back taxes to the IRS, when in fact she and her husband were facing a $45,000 lien. She bought a Kissimmee house for $545,000 and a condo in Longboat Key for $476,000, land records show. 

According to the indictment, she falsely claimed the house was going to be her “residence” in order to get a better interest rate, though she had already signed a contract to make the house a short-term rental. To get the other property, she lied about a $5,000 “gift” payment from her husband, Nick Mosby, whom she filed for divorce from in July.

Once the youngest top prosecutor of any major American city and a rising “progressive prosecutor” for eight years, Mosby was also half of a city power couple with her now-estranged city council president husband. The verdict, capping a three-day trial, likely marks the end of her legal career. 

The case — thrice-postponed, and removed from a Baltimore courthouse and split in two by U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby — set the former high-profile progressive prosecutor’s court-appointed defense lawyers against a U.S. Attorney’s Office that previously sent the city’s mayor to prison for fraud. 

Mosby's defense had argued the pandemic dashed her hopes of operating a side business, creating an eligible hardship under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, and that the guidelines for withdrawing the money were vague.

“With little or no guidance, the evidence is that Marilyn Mosby got it right,” public defender James Wyda told jurors in closing arguments. “But even if she didn’t, if you think it’s wrong that her business did not suffer an adverse financial consequence, it’s not a crime. It’s a mistake.”

But prosecutors said she suffered no hardship, and simply put her greed ahead of the truth, including the fact that Mosby had actually received a raise in her day job to $248,000.

Mosby had told an online news outlet that she had no intention of operating the business, Mahogany Elite Enterprises. In arguing that the business actually was viable and that she did intend to operate it before the pandemic set it back, Zy Richardson, Mosby’s former spokeswoman, testified that she advised Mosby that it was “bad politics” to run the company while in office, eventually convincing her to lie to the news outlet about her original intentions. 

Mosby declined to take the stand yesterday after prosecutors warned that they would question her about $8,000 worth of tax deductions she took in relation to her side business. 

“US Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek Barron, his team of prosecutors and the FBI deserve credit for the manner in which this case was prepared and tried,” said David Plymyer, a former States Attorney in neighboring Anne Arundel County and a vocal critic of Mosby during her term. “The evidence presented against Ms. Mosby was overwhelming. Basically, it’s another sad day for Baltimore which has had too many sad days like it.”

Elected state’s attorney in 2014, Mosby made a name for herself by criminally prosecuting six city police officers involved in the police custody death of Freddie Gray, whose death sparked citywide riots. None of the officers were convicted, but Mosby enjoyed a high profile as a part of a new breed of progressive prosecutors working to change criminal justice policy. In 2019, she petitioned to masse vacate the convictions of thousands of people previously found guilty of marijuana possession — a gambit that also quietly failed.

After cruising to reelection in 2018, Mosby stepped up her travel schedule even as the city’s murder rate remained near record levels, drawing scrutiny from the Baltimore Brew, which investigated her travel and business interests, leading to her unraveling. Mosby lost her bid for reelection in the city’s 2022 spring primary. She left office in January 2023.

Mosby also faces separate mortgage fraud charges, though trial dates for those charges have not yet been set.

Categories / Criminal, Law, Regional, Trials

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