Pugh Seeks to Delay Start of 36-Month Sentence and Wants New Prison Assignment

    Ex-Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D) is asking a federal judge to postpone her surrender to federal prison until June.

    In a motion filed Wednesday, Pugh’s attorneys asked for the delay, in part, to allow her to resolve a Maryland perjury charge currently scheduled for hearing in mid-May.

    Pugh had been scheduled to self-surrender for a 36-month federal prison sentence on April 27. She pleaded guilty last November to four charges ― for tax evasion and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and defraud the U.S. government by reporting campaign donations as business expenses ― in U.S. District Court.

    Andrew C. White, Pugh’s attorney, cited the COVID-19 pandemic as one reason for the request to delay her reporting date. Maryland’s court system has been closed to most hearings except for emergency matters until at least May 1.

    Pugh is currently scheduled to appear in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court on the perjury charge on May 14. White’s motion indicates a deal has been reached in the case, which was brought by the Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor alleging that Pugh failed to list her business interest in Healthy Holly LLC on legislative financial disclosure forms.

    “This case was supposed to have been resolved in a single court hearing prior to her federal reporting date,” White wrote in the motion.

    Having Pugh report to prison before the hearing, only to be transported back to Maryland in federal custody, would drain U.S. Marshals Service resources and possibly harm Pugh’s opportunities to take part in programs during her prison stay, White wrote.

    In the motion, White said he is also petitioning the Federal Bureau of Prisons to change Pugh’s prison assignment from Federal Correctional Institution Aliceville, a medium-security federal prison for women in Alabama.

    Pugh’s assignment to the prison, which is 877 miles and a 14-hour drive from Baltimore, is not consistent with the federal First Step Act, which calls for prisoners to be placed in facilities as close to their primary residence as possible, White wrote.

    A more appropriate placement would be at Federal Prison Camp Alderson, a minimum-security prison for women in West Virginia, White wrote.

    He is requesting that Pugh now report to federal custody on June 1.

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    Danielle E. Gaines
    Danielle Gaines most recently worked for Bethesda Beat covering Montgomery County. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at the Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.