Outgoing Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby is seeking to move her upcoming federal perjury trial out of Baltimore, records show.

Mosby’s attorneys filed a motion under seal Thursday, but on Friday U.S. District Judge Lydia Griggsby issued a scheduling order that disclosed that it dealt with “a motion to transfer venue.”

Griggsby initially asked the defense to file a motion today, but later rescinded that order and said prosecutors would have until Nov. 4 to reply. It was not clear whether Griggsby would unseal the change of venue motion.

Because the filings were made under seal, it was not immediately clear if Mosby is seeking to have her case moved out of state or to the state’s southern division in Greenbelt.

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Unlike many other states, Maryland’s federal courts have one district, but there are two divisions: Baltimore and Greenbelt. The Northern Division includes Baltimore and the counties of Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester. The Southern Division includes the counties of Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, Montgomery and Prince George’s.

The city’s two-term top prosecutor, who will leave office in early January after losing her reelection bid, is charged with two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements. Prosecutors say she lied about a financial hardship in order to access retirement funds under a federal coronavirus relief plan, the CARES Act, and then lied on paperwork related to the purchase of two Florida properties.

The defense said in previous filings that “endless negative coverage” of Mosby “has already poisoned the well against her,” citing press coverage, social media and answers to juror questionnaires. Griggsby said their references to the latter violated local rules governing juror questionnaires, and instructed the clerk’s office to remove the filing.

That filing had come in response to a gag order request from prosecutors, who said Mosby’s lead attorney A. Scott Bolden had made “inflammatory statements about this case to the media, using steps of the Courthouse as his backdrop.”

“These statements and others like it are likely to interfere with the ability to seat a fair and impartial jury in this case,” prosecutors wrote.

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Mosby was set to go to trial last month, after prosecutors said they needed additional preparation time following late defense disclosures. She’s recently enjoyed a surge of positive national and local media attention following her office’s decision to free Adnan Syed, the subject of the popular “Serial” podcast.

justin.fenton@thebaltimorebanner.com

Justin Fenton is an investigative reporter for the Baltimore Banner. He previously spent 17 years at the Baltimore Sun, covering the criminal justice system. His book, "We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops and Corruption," was released by Random House in 2021 and became an HBO miniseries.

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