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Mosby wants change of venue for federal perjury trial

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby leaves the courthouse Sept. 7 after a pretrial hearing. (The Daily Record /Madeleine O’Neill)

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby plans to ask for a change of venue for her federal criminal trial on perjury and mortgage fraud charges, a new filing revealed Friday.

Details of the request were not immediately available because it was filed under seal. But U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby filed a scheduling order Friday that identified the filing as a motion for leave to file for a change of venue. The defense must file its motion today.

Mosby’s federal trial is scheduled for March, when she will be out of office. She came in third place in the Democratic primary for the job of Baltimore’s top prosecutor.

Her lawyers have claimed the jury pool is seriously biased against Mosby. In a previous filing, Mosby’s lawyers included details from juror questionnaires that had been filled out by potential jurors — her trial was originally set for September before it was moved at the last minute because of a dispute over expert witnesses.

One prospective juror wrote, ““I have already determined (Mosby’s) guilt. I have been following this case from the very start of the indictment,” according to the defense filing.

Another juror concluded an “otherwise revolting racist statement” with the comment that Mosby is “guilty as sin.” The defense also wrote that two-thirds of the potential jurors had heard of the case and nearly one-third had already formed an opinion about the case that would prevent them from serving on a jury.

Mosby’s lawyer, A. Scott Bolden, is facing a potential court sanction for including confidential information from juror questionnaires in the filing. But the issue of juror bias is likely to be part of the defense’s request for a change of venue.

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.