The case against Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby will move forward next week with a pretrial hearing on Mosby’s effort to have her federal indictment dismissed.
Thursday’s hearing marks the first time that Mosby’s defense team and federal prosecutors will go head to head in a courtroom with public observers.
The defense has asked U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby to toss the indictment on the grounds that Mosby is being unfairly targeted for prosecution.
In pretrial motions, the defense lawyers argued that the lead federal prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise, has a personal vendetta against Mosby and should be disqualified from the case. Mosby’s attorney, A. Scott Bolden, has pointed to the fact that Wise contributed small amounts to both of Mosby’s competitors in the 2018 Democratic primary when she last ran for re-election.
In its response, the government accused Mosby of inventing a “tale of victimhood” to deflect from the charges against her.
Mosby faces two counts each of perjury and making false statements on loan applications. She is accused of falsely claiming financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to withdraw money from her retirement account without incurring the usual penalty.
She is also charged with failing to disclose a $45,000 IRS lien when she applied for mortgages on two properties in Florida, and of lying about receiving a $5,000 “gift” from her husband, City Council President Nick Mosby, in order to secure a favorable interest rate on one of the properties.
Marilyn Mosby’s pretrial motions also claimed that she did not know about the tax lien when she applied for the Florida mortgages. The motions blamed Nick Mosby for failing to inform her of a series of tax problems and then telling her, incorrectly, that the IRS lien had been paid off.
The government and the defense will each have 20 minutes to make arguments at Thursday’s pretrial hearing, plus 15 minutes each for responses and 10 minutes for rebuttal, according to a scheduling order.
The number of observers at the hearing will be strictly limited. In a phone call with the media Thursday, Chief Deputy Clerk David Ciambruschini said only 20 observers will be permitted in the courtroom because of COVID-19 protocols.
Three seats will be reserved for members of the press, seven will be reserved for the public and 10 will be held for people attending on behalf of the parties to the case.
Other people will be able to watch a livestream of the proceedings from an overflow courtroom on another floor of the courthouse.
Ciambruschini did not answer questions about how these numbers were reached or whether the parties to the case were involved in developing the protocols. Another criminal trial happening in federal court this week did not appear to limit the number of observers.
Mosby’s case is scheduled for a trial on Sept. 19. The trial had been set to begin on May 2, but Bolden asked for more time to meet upcoming deadlines and Griggsby on Tuesday granted that request.
Update: On Friday evening, Ciambruschini announced that Thursday’s pretrial hearing will be held in a larger courtroom to accommodate more reporters.