Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby (D) spoke in defense of her innocence Friday in light of false statement and perjury charges levied against her by a federal grand jury.
“I’m here before you today to state, unequivocally, that I am innocent and I intend to do what I’ve always done since I became state’s attorney for the city and in the city that I love: fight,” she said at a news conference.
A federal grand jury indicted Mosby on four charges Thursday: two counts of perjury for falsely claiming a COVID hardship on an application to withdraw tens of thousands of dollars from her retirement account, and two counts for making alleged false statements on mortgage applications for two vacation homes in Florida.
Mosby spoke for approximately 10 minutes Friday and took no questions from reporters. She said that the press should expect her defense attorney, A. Scott Bolden, to “make himself available at a later time.”
She called Thursday’s indictment a “political ploy” by her “political adversaries” to remove her from office, stating that, prior to Thursday’s indictment, she offered to make herself available to present evidence before the grand jury.
“But the U.S. attorney and the lead prosecutor in the case, who has donated to my political opponents and who has personal animus towards me, has refused to allow me to do so,” Mosby said.
U.S. Attorney Erek Barron, a former state delegate who was nominated to the post by President Biden in July, declined to comment.
Mosby is up for re-election in 2022 and two challengers, Ivan Bates and Roya Hanna, have launched campaigns.
During the Friday news conference, Mosby said that she expected her role as Baltimore’s state’s attorney to be challenging.
“I did not expect to incur, personally, more than $500,000 in legal bills defending myself from frivolous investigations and attacks on nearly every front,” Mosby said, her voice cracking. “I did not expect for an investigation into my professional travel — which I asked for — to somehow snowball into state ethics and state election board inquiries, federal investigations and, ultimately, a federal indictment.”
Mosby requested that the city’s Office of the Inspector General open an investigation following reporting by the Baltimore Brew regarding her work travel. The investigation revealed that, between 2018 and 2019, Mosby had been out of town for 144 days and was often given gifts by event sponsors. As a result of the report, Mosby submitted an amended report to the Maryland State Ethics Commission in July 2020.
“I’m so disappointed but, unfortunately, not shocked that my family and I find ourselves in this position,” Mosby said Friday.
Baltimore’s top prosecutor said she’s “had a target on [her] back” since she announced charges against the six officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray in 2015.
“As a state’s attorney for Baltimore City, I’ve used my power and my discretion to do things that a lot of people in this country just don’t like,” Mosby told the media.
She rattled off a list of actions she’s taken since she’s been in office, including prosecuting law enforcement officers, exonerating people facing life sentences and helping others secure parole.
During the pandemic, Mosby suspended prosecutions of drug possession crimes, prostitution, trespassing and nuisance offenses during the pandemic.
“I get it: This is not what prosecutors usually do,” Mosby said Friday. “And many people will forever hate me for it.”
Mosby has caught heat from Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and Republican lawmakers, who accuse her of also failing to prosecute violent criminals.
In November, Hogan said Mosby’s handling of criminal prosecutions was contributing to violent crime in the city and announced he would withhold funding until her office produced statistics on prosecutions, plea deals and case dismissals.
Weeks later, Hogan criticized Mosby as a “prosecutor … that refuses to prosecute violent criminals” on Fox News Sunday.
Mosby responded in an open letter defending her record and condemning the acrimonious relationship between Hogan and city leaders.
A Hogan spokesman declined to comment on Mosby’s indictment Friday.
According to prosecutors, Mosby applied for $90,000 in retirement distributions through a CARES Act provision in 2020.
To qualify to withdraw money from her retirement account, Mosby certified on an application form that she experienced financial hardships because of the pandemic.
But federal prosecutors say that Mosby received her full gross salary of $247,955.58 in 2020. She ultimately withdrew $81,000, in two installments, from the account without a tax penalty, according to the indictment.
Bolden said on a daily online broadcast Thursday that the CARES Act provision allowed people to apply for retirement distributions if they were financially impacted “in any way,” and pointed to her travel-related businesses first reported on by the Baltimore Brew.
Mosby also faces two counts of allegedly making false statements on mortgage loan applications for a home in Kissimmee, Fla., and a condominium in Long Boat Key.
According to the indictment, Mosby neglected to disclose a $45,022 federal tax lien against her and her husband, Baltimore City Council President Nick J. Mosby (D), for calendar years 2014, 2015 and 2016 on applications for both Florida properties.
Baltimore City Circuit Court records show that the tax liens were placed in February 2020 and ultimately paid in June 2021, after the purchase of the Florida properties.
The maximum penalty for perjury is five years in federal prison; the maximum penalty for making false mortgage applications is 30 years.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to include additional detail about the relationship between State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.