As attorneys for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby double down on their claims of retribution from federal prosecutors, the feds have revealed a new detail about their case: The government has phone call recordings between Mosby and the company that runs the city’s pension plan.
The revelation came to light during a flurry of filings in Mosby’s federal case on Friday, first in the form of a letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise, then in a lengthy legal argument the defense filed in another attempt to discredit Wise in Mosby’s First Court. appearance.
“The United States has provided all recorded calls in its possession between the defendant and Nationwide,” the letter read, referring to the company that administers Baltimore’s deferred compensation plans, according to court records.
Wise’s letter responded to Mosby’s defense by saying the government has not been open enough about prosecutors’ plans about whether they will call expert witnesses. The defense had argued that hiccups in the pre-trial information exchange between the prosecution and defense could impact the May 2 trial date.
Mosby is charged with two counts of perjury related to her penalty-free withdrawals from her retirement account, and the claims she made to secure those withdrawals go to the heart of the government’s case.
“If the government is trying to prove what was said and what representations were made, that will be the best evidence,” said criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Andrew I. Alperstein. “It’s also particularly persuasive in a trial to hear the voice of the accused.”
It’s unlikely the feds tapped Mosby’s phones, Alperstein said. Instead, it’s likely Nationwide recorded the calls as standard business practice.
Prosecutors allege Mosby lied in 2020 about financial hardship during the pandemic so she could withdraw $81,000 without penalty from her City of Baltimore Retirement Savings Account to make down payments on two homes in Florida: an eight-bedroom rental near Disney World and a condo on the state’s Gulf Coast.
“Without these two withdrawals, she would not have been able to make the down payment on one of the two Florida vacation homes she purchased in September 2020 and February 2021,” federal prosecutors wrote in a statement. separate folder. “Put simply, the defendant’s perjury allowed her to raise $90,000 in funds she shouldn’t have had access to to secure two vacation homes.”
Mosby also faces two counts of misrepresenting loan applications to buy the homes. Federal prosecutors say she lied on loan applications by failing to disclose a tax lien and claiming a house near Orlando was going to be a second home when she had already lined up a business to manage it lease, a maneuver to secure a lower interest rate.
Mosby’s attorney, A. Scott Bolden, did not respond to a request for comment Friday evening.
His attorneys responded to the charges by slandering the U.S. Attorney’s Office with formal legal arguments alleging vindictive and selective prosecution. Defense attorneys accused Wise of prosecuting, and U.S. Attorney Erek Barron signed, a case motivated by the couple’s personal and political animosity. They sought to have Wise off the case and to dismiss the indictment against Mosby.
Federal prosecutors dismissed the allegations as legally and factually baseless, saying their lawsuits were motivated by the evidence against Mosby.
Friday was the deadline for Mosby’s attorneys to offer a rebuttal. With their final opportunity to address the allegations in writing ahead of their first court appearance on April 14, Mosby’s attorneys have sought to see his defense against malicious lawsuits to the end, calling on Wise to take the stand and testify. under oath about his feelings about the district attorney and his handling of the case.
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Mosby’s political opponents each solicited $100 contributions from Wise last campaign, which she claims is evidence of his animosity toward her. Mosby’s attorneys want the chance to question Wise about those contributions, as well as a statement he made while prosecuting one of the department’s corrupt gun-tracing task force agents. Baltimore police and his handling of the Justice Department’s investigation into Mosby’s taxes.
Alperstein said Mosby’s defense arguments serve to distract from the charges she faces.
“It may not be political, it may be designed to confuse and blur things, and sometimes when you have nothing else you just want to mess it up,” Alperstein said.
Federal prosecutors’ response on Friday highlights letters Mosby’s attorney sent them and included as exhibits in a request to meet with prosecutors and U.S. District Judge Lydia K. Griggsby next week. The exhibits were filed under seal at Bolden’s request, but his argument hinted at the possibility of the trial date being affected.
From the time Mosby was indicted on Jan. 13, she and her lawyers have been pushing for a speedy trial, arguing that a delay could impact her re-election bid.
Federal prosecutors said in the letter that they had provided all the information they needed to the defense and that they did not plan to call expert witnesses.
They are due to speak with Griggsby on a conference call on Wednesday.