Baltimore’s former top prosecutor, Marilyn J. Mosby, faces the start of her federal perjury trial next week after a judge today rejected a last-minute request by her attorney for a postponement – the fourth since her indictment nearly two years ago.
U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby noted that defense concerns about a questionnaire sent to prospective jurors could be resolved by pulling jurors from another pool who did not receive the document.
Mosby’s public defender, James Wyda, had apparently proposed, in a sealed request alluded to in court today, that a revised questionnaire be mailed to jurors, a process that could take weeks.
Mosby, who lost her bid for a third term as Baltimore’s state’s attorney last year, is due in federal court in Greenbelt on Monday for a final pretrial hearing prior to jury selection, which is expected to take two days.
As of now, opening statements are set to begin on November 2.
Griggsby agreed last month to move Mosby’s trial from Baltimore to the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt and to split her original four-count indictment into two separate trials.
In next week’s trial, Mosby faces charges that she lied to gain early access to her city retirement funds by saying she had suffered adverse financial consequences from the Covid pandemic.
The second trial involves alleged mortgage fraud by Mosby while purchasing two vacation homes in Florida with the retirement funds and lying about a $5,000 “gift” from her now-estranged husband, Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby.
Skirmishes over Words and Dollars
Griggsby agreed with the defense that prosecutors could not refer to the Florida properties as “luxury” homes, but could cite their price – $545,000 for a house in Kissimmee and $476,000 for a condo at Longboat Key.
On the other hand, the judge said that prosecutors could present summaries to jurors of Mosby’s finances, including her $250,000-a-year salary as state attorney, when she claimed financial hardship.
Mosby’s defense is expect to argue that a side travel business she had created in 2019 was hard hit by the global shutdown of travel during the pandemic, causing her financial losses.
After The Brew disclosed the existence of Mahogany Elite Enterprises in July 2020, Mosby wrote to Baltimore Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming that “the idea was to set up a travel company to help underserved Black families . . . vacation at various destinations throughout the world at affordable rates.”
“I ask you to verify that I have not taken on a single client for these companies, nor have I taken any money,” she told Cumming (see below).
Today, Griggsby ruled that prosecutors could enter into evidence Mosby’s previous statements about her travel business, including her claim that Mahogany Elite wouldn’t be operational until after she left public office.
Those statements are expected to play a key role in the prosecution’s case.