BALTIMORE — About 30% of potential jurors in the federal perjury and mortgage fraud case of Baltimore state attorney Marilyn Mosby indicated in questionnaires that they had already made a decision on her case, Mosby’s attorneys said in a filing Thursday.
Defense attorneys for Mosby, who is charged with two counts each of perjury and misrepresentation on loan applications, were responding to federal prosecutors’ request for an order in the case restraining those involved from suggestively comment on the case outside of court. .
Citing a handful of written responses from prospective jurors indicating that they had decided the two-term Democrat was guilty, Mosby’s attorneys argued that the jury panel was already biased against her due to widespread media coverage of his case.
About 65% of those who responded to the questionnaire said they had heard of the case, according to the defense filing.
The defense filing does not say whether about a third of questionnaire respondents who said their decision was made thought Mosby was guilty or innocent.
Federal prosecutors sought a so-called ‘gag order’ in the case earlier this month after Mosby’s lead attorney, A. Scott Bolden, expressed frustration over the postponement of Mosby’s September trial. to march as he spoke to reporters on the steps of the courthouse.
Bolden swore during his remarks and apologized to U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby in court the following day for his use of profanity.
The government argued that Bolden’s press conference amounted to an attempt to smear the jury panel by repeating discredited defense claims that the case against Mosby was the result of prosecutors’ contempt for her.
“This case should be tried inside the federal courthouse, not on its steps,” prosecutors wrote.
Federal prosecutors say Mosby lied about financial hardship from the coronavirus pandemic to withdraw money from his city retirement savings account early and without penalty. Mosby used the roughly $81,000 to buy a pair of properties in Florida: an eight-bedroom rental near Disney World and a condo on the state’s Gulf Coast, according to his indictment.
Mosby tricked mortgage lenders, the government says, into signing a document promising the house would be used as a second home – and thus be able to secure a lower interest rate – despite having already signed a contract with a business to operate the house as a rental. Mosby also failed to disclose on the loan applications a federal tax lien placed against her for unpaid income taxes, according to the indictment.
Earlier this month, Griggsby pushed back Mosby’s trial, which was due to start in mid-September, until March 27. Griggsby has raised concerns about the defense’s adequate disclosure of its expert witnesses to the prosecution.
This month’s postponement was the second delay in Mosby’s trial. Originally scheduled to begin in April, Griggsby dismissed the case in September at the request of Mosby’s lawyers.
In August, a Baltimore Circuit Court judge found Mosby in contempt of court, finding that she violated a gag order in the controversial Keith Davis Jr. murder case. The judge’s ruling allowed Mosby to choose between a $1,500 fine or a more restrictive order barring Mosby from speaking about Davis’ case at all. It’s unclear which option the two-term Democrat chose.
(Baltimore Sun reporter Lee O. Sanderlin contributed to this article.)
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