BALTIMORE — About 30% of prospective jurors in Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s federal perjury and mortgage fraud case indicated in questionnaires they already have made up their minds about her case, Mosby’s lawyers said in a court filing Thursday.
Defense attorneys for Mosby, who is charged with two counts each of perjury and making false statements on loan applications, were responding to federal prosecutors’ request for an order in the case prohibiting those involved from commenting about the case in a suggestive manner outside of court.
Citing a handful of written responses from prospective jurors indicating they had decided the two-term Democrat is guilty, Mosby’s lawyers argued the jury pool already was prejudiced against her because of the extensive media coverage of her case.
Approximately 65% of those who responded to the questionnaire indicated they’d heard about the case, according to the defense’s filing.
The defense’s filing does not specify whether the roughly one-third of questionnaire respondents who said their mind was made up thought Mosby was guilty or innocent.
Federal prosecutors asked for a so-called “gag order” in the case earlier this month after Mosby’s lead attorney, A. Scott Bolden, expressed frustrations about Mosby’s trial being postponed from September to March while speaking to reporters on the courthouse steps.
Bolden cursed during his remarks, and apologized to U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby in court the next day for his use of profanity.
The government argued Bolden’s press conference amounted to an attempt to taint the jury pool by repeating the defense’s discredited claims that the case against Mosby is the result of prosecutors’ disdain for her.
“This case should be tried inside the federal courthouse, not on its steps,” prosecutors wrote.
Federal prosecutors say Mosby lied about suffering financial hardship from the coronavirus pandemic to withdraw money from her city retirement savings account early and without penalty. Mosby used the approximately $81,000 to purchase a pair of properties in Florida: an eight-bedroom rental near Disney World and a condo on the state’s Gulf Coast, according to her indictment.
Mosby misled mortgage lenders, the government alleges, by signing a document promising the house would serve as a second home — and thus be able to lock in a lower interest rate — when she’d already signed a contract with a company to operate the home as a rental. Mosby also neglected to disclose on the loan applications a federal tax lien placed against her for unpaid income taxes, the indictment said.
Griggsby earlier this month pushed back Mosby’s trial, which was slated to begin in mid-September, until March 27. Griggsby cited concerns over the defense adequately disclosing its expert witnesses to the prosecution.
This month’s postponement was the second delay in Mosby’s trial. Originally set to begin in April, Griggsby bumped the case to September at the request of Mosby’s lawyers.
In August, a Baltimore Circuit Court judge held Mosby in contempt of court, finding that she violated a gag order in the controversial murder case of Keith Davis Jr. The judge’s ruling allowed Mosby to choose between a $1,500 fine or a more restrictive order barring Mosby from talking about Davis’ case at all. It’s unclear which option the two-term Democrat selected.
(Baltimore Sun reporter Lee O. Sanderlin contributed to this article.)