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Attorney: Ex-Baltimore mayor surrenders for prison term

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh leaves the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in Annapolis, Md., after pleading guilty to a state perjury charge Friday, June 19, 2020, for failing to disclose a business interest relating to her “Healthy Holly” children’s books on her financial disclosure forms when she was a state senator. Pugh, a 70-year-old Democrat, already has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for netting hundreds of thousands of dollars in the self-dealing scandal over the books that touted exercise and nutrition. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh leaves the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in Annapolis, Md., after pleading guilty to a state perjury charge Friday, June 19, 2020, for failing to disclose a business interest relating to her “Healthy Holly” children’s books on her financial disclosure forms when she was a state senator. Pugh, a 70-year-old Democrat, already has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for netting hundreds of thousands of dollars in the self-dealing scandal over the books that touted exercise and nutrition. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Baltimore’s disgraced former mayor surrendered to federal authorities Friday to begin serving a three-year prison sentence stemming from a public corruption scandal.

Catherine Pugh’s attorney, Steven Silverman, told The Associated Press his client “surrendered as directed.” Pugh was sentenced in February for fraudulently selling her self-published children’s books to nonprofit organizations to promote her political career.

Pugh, 70, was ordered to report to an all-women federal correctional institution in Aliceville, Alabama, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Birmingham. She was originally scheduled to surrender on April 13 but received extensions because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Silverman said he could not comment on whether Pugh will seek to serve out her sentence under home confinement over coronavirus concerns until he learns more about the conditions at the prison.

The pandemic has prompted the Federal Bureau of Prisons to suspend all social visits at its facilities. New inmates are screened for COVID-19 risk factors and symptoms and some are quarantined.

The bureau has struggled to combat the pandemic behind bars, where social distancing is nearly impossible, and has increasingly relied on home confinement to try to clear cramped quarters and reduce the chance of infection for high-risk inmates. More than 6,340 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at facilities across the U.S. and at least 89 federal inmates have died since late March, according to officials.

Pugh, a Democrat, was elected mayor in 2016 and resigned under pressure in May 2019 as authorities investigated bulk sales of her “Healthy Holly” paperbacks, which netted her hundreds of thousands of dollars. She pleaded guilty in November to federal conspiracy and tax evasion.

This March 2019 photo taken in Baltimore, shows copies of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's self-published "Healthy Holly" illustrated paperbacks for children. Baltimore's embattled mayor announced Monday, April 1 that she is taking an indefinite leave of absence, just as a political scandal intensifies over what critics call a "self-dealing" book-sales arrangement that threatens her political career. The various officials' calls came shortly after Kaiser Permanente disclosed that it paid $114,000, between 2015 and 2018, for roughly 20,000 copies of Pugh's children's books. And it came about two weeks after news broke that since 2011, Pugh has received $500,000 selling her books to the University of Maryland Medical System, a $4 billion hospital network that's one of the largest private employers in the state. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

This March 2019 photo taken in Baltimore, shows copies of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s self-published “Healthy Holly” illustrated paperbacks for children.  (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Federal authorities accused her of double-selling the books, keeping many for self-promotion purposes and failing to deliver them to institutions they were purchased for, including Baltimore City Public Schools. Pugh used the proceeds to fund straw donations to her mayoral campaign and to buy and renovate a house.

Pugh last week also pleaded guilty to a state perjury charge for failing to disclose a business interest relating to her children’s books on her financial disclosure forms when she was a state senator. She was sentenced to six months in jail to be served concurrently with her federal sentence.


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