Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby will be out of office before she faces trial on federal charges of perjury and mortgage fraud.
U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby set a new trial date of March 27 at a hearing on Thursday. Mosby’s trial was supposed to start on Monday, but had to be postponed at the last minute Wednesday because of an ongoing dispute over expert witnesses.
Mosby lost her campaign for a third term as Baltimore state’s attorney, which took place under the cloud of her pending criminal trial. She placed third in the July Democratic primary and is set to leave office when her term ends in January.
The defense at first pressed for a quick trial that could take place before the primary, but asked for a continuance in the spring. Mosby’s lawyers blamed the request on the voluminous discovery and a “lack of clarity” from prosecutors regarding expert witnesses.
Prosecutors said they did not intend to call any expert witnesses at the trial. On Wednesday, however, Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise said his office would need to hire experts in order to combat expert testimony from the defense. He said the defense delayed filing expert witness disclosures until the last minute, making it difficult for the prosecution to prepare for trial.
A frustrated Griggsby agreed and postponed the trial just a day before jury selection was set to begin.
Prosecutors plan to challenge Mosby’s expert witnesses, who are expected to testify about her personal finances and those of her side business, Mahogany Elite Enterprises, LLC. Mosby said repeatedly in past statements that her travel company was not operational, but her defense seems likely to hinge on whether the company suffered losses because of the pandemic.
Prosecutors are also seeking a gag order to block defense lawyers and other parties to the case from making statements to the media and the public that could prejudice potential jurors.
The motion came shortly after Mosby’s lead defense lawyer, A. Scott Bolden, said on the courthouse steps Wednesday that the government’s arguments are “bulls–t” and that state and federal employees and African-American politicians like Mosby are at risk of being targeted for prosecution.
The motion notes that prospective jurors, who answered a questionnaire in preparation for the September trial date, said they are watching media coverage of the case closely. Many said they had already made up their minds about the case based on media coverage, Wise wrote.
“Defense counsel’s use of the courthouse steps as a platform and prop for his inflammatory statements to potential jurors presents particular concern, because of the large presence of media there whenever there are hearings in this case, and the use of the courthouse as a backdrop in an attempt to legitimize his comments,” Wise wrote in the motion.
Mosby faces two counts each of perjury and making false statements on mortgage applications. She is accused of falsely claiming a pandemic-related financial loss in order to withdraw $90,000 from her city retirement account in 2020. She put the money toward down payments on two vacation properties in Florida.
She is also accused of failing to disclose a $45,000 IRS lien and making other false statements when she applied for the mortgages on those two Florida properties.