Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl D. De Sousa had his initial appearance in federal court Monday afternoon on charges he failed to file federal income tax returns.
Chief Magistrate Judge Beth P. Genser released De Sousa pending the yet-to-be-scheduled trial and ordered him to surrender his passport and firearms.
Both De Sousa’s lawyers and federal prosecutors declined to comment following the hearing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
De Sousa was accompanied to court by two new members of his legal team: Gerard P. Martin and Adam Ruther of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP in Baltimore, who entered their appearance in the case Friday.
Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur observed the hearing from the gallery.
De Sousa issued a statement the day the charges were made public admitting he did not file returns in 2013, 2014 and 2015 but said he had taxes withheld from his paycheck in those years. He also said he has been working with a tax advisor to come into compliance, including filing his 2016 returns and seeking an extension for 2017.
“While there is no excuse for my failure to fulfill my obligations as a citizen and public official, my only explanation is that I failed to sufficiently prioritize my personal affairs,” De Sousa said in the statement.
Steven D. Silverman, another member of De Sousa’s defense team, said in a statement after the charges were announced that De Sousa was unaware of the charges until they were filed.
“Criminal charges are usually a last resort by the government after the taxpayer has ignored the government’s warning,” said Silverman, of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White LLC in Baltimore. “Had the government made an inquiry prior to charging, the government would have learned that Commissioner De Sousa was in the process of seeking assistance from a professional tax consultant to file all past due returns.”
The case is United States of America v. Darryl De Sousa, 1:18cr00276.