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Mosby defense lawyers can’t quit case now, prosecutors argue

From left, defense attorney A. Scott Bolden, former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Mosby’s husband and City Council President Nick Mosby, and defense lawyer Gary Proctor leave the courthouse on Jan. 17. (The Daily Record/Madeleine O'Neill)

From left, defense attorney A. Scott Bolden, former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Mosby’s husband and City Council President Nick Mosby, and defense lawyer Gary Proctor leave the courthouse on Jan. 17. (The Daily Record/Madeleine O’Neill)

Federal prosecutors want most of the lawyers for former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby to stay on the case even though the entire defense team filed a request last week to withdraw.

In a Saturday filing, government lawyers argued that five of the six attorneys representing Mosby should stay on so that her perjury and mortgage fraud trial is not delayed for a third time. The trial is set for March 27 in federal court in Baltimore.

“The practical effect of the withdrawal of all the lawyers who have worked on this case will be to necessitate yet another continuance, the third one defense counsel would have caused,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise wrote.

RELATED: Will Mosby get a public defender? Here’s what that process looks like

The defense team made its withdrawal request after the judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby, threatened Mosby’s lead attorney with criminal contempt. The lawyer, A. Scott Bolden, responded by asking to leave the case.

Mosby has five other lawyers, including three from Bolden’s D.C. firm, Reed Smith. All three asked to withdraw on the basis that Bolden’s possible contempt charges created a conflict for the entire firm.

Mosby’s other two lawyers, Gary E. Proctor and Lucius Outlaw, also asked to be excused from the case. They argued that their appearances in the case were always meant to be limited and that their other professional obligations prevented them from taking over as lead counsel to Mosby.

In updated motions filed Monday, Proctor and Outlaw renewed their requests to leave the case. Proctor wrote that he is too busy with his usual legal work, which involves representing indigent defendants facing the death penalty across the United States.

Outlaw wrote that he is unable to continue representing Mosby because of his full-time job as a professor at the Howard University School of Law. Both men agreed to assist on the case pro bono.

In Saturday’s filing, Wise said the government would not object if Bolden withdrew because of his behavior during the case, but that the other defense lawyers could take over instead.

“The Government is confident that the matter would be handled in a more professional and civil matter by any of the other five attorneys that represent the Defendant,” Wise wrote.

Griggsby ruled last week that Bolden violated several local court rules in recent months, including when he used profanity on the courthouse steps, disclosed confidential juror responses and filed a motion without a Maryland law license.

“The Government is confident that the matter would be handled in a more professional and civil matter by any of the other five attorneys that represent the Defendant,” prosecutors wrote in their motion.

RELATED: Mosby trial will remain in Baltimore, judge rules

Mosby recently left office after serving two high-profile terms as Baltimore state’s attorney. She was defeated in a Democratic primary last year after federal prosecutors accused her of lying about experiencing pandemic-related financial hardship in order to make early withdrawals from her retirement account. She used the money to buy two Florida vacation properties and now faces two counts each of perjury and mortgage fraud.

Her defense lawyers said they have discussed the case with the Office of the Federal Public Defender for Maryland, which could take over if the six original lawyers are allowed to withdraw.

Griggsby will decide whether the lawyers can withdraw and if Mosby qualifies for a federal public defender. The judge will hold a status conference on the withdrawal request this Friday.

In 2020, Mosby submitted requests for one-time withdrawals of $40,000 and $50,000, respectively, from Baltimore’s deferred compensation plans, according to her indictment. Prosecutors allege Mosby falsely certified that she experienced financial hardship because of the coronavirus, but she actually received her nearly $250,000 salary in 2020.

Her attorneys have argued that COVID-19 had an impact on both financial markets and Mosby’s personal travel and consulting businesses. They have accused prosecutors of having racial or political motives for pursuing the case, though Griggsby previously rejected their assertion of vindictive prosecution.

Daily Record legal affairs reporter Madeleine O’Neill and Lea Skene of The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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