Federal prosecutors responded Saturday to a request from Marilyn Mosby’s defense team to withdraw from her case, writing that the defense hadn’t shown good cause to pull out two months before her trial.
They added, however, that they wouldn’t mind if one of the attorneys was no longer in court.
Mosby’s team of six attorneys said Thursday that they want off the case, following a Tuesday hearing in which U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby said she was moving toward holding lead defense attorney A. Scott Bolden in criminal contempt for violating court rules and statements he made out-of-court.
The defense followed with a motion to withdraw, saying Bolden and three other attorneys from his firm Reed Smith now have a conflict of interest. Two other Maryland-based attorneys on the case said they would not be able to step up as lead attorneys if the others withdrew. They said Mosby consented to being represented by the Office of the Federal Public Defender.
Prosecutors responded Saturday that none of the attorneys had demonstrated good cause to abandon the case, but that they won’t object to Bolden withdrawing, citing his “unprofessional and uncivil behavior.” Bolden has blasted the prosecution as politically and racially biased and said Mosby was being selectively prosecuted — claims that Griggsby ordered him to refrain from making.
He further ran afoul of Griggsby when he filed a motion that contained confidential juror questionnaire information and was not signed by Maryland-based attorneys in the case, both violations of local rules, the judge said. Bolden is not admitted to practice in Maryland’s federal courts and local attorneys need to sign his filings.
“The Government is confident that the matter would be handled in a more professional and civil matter by any of the other five attorneys that represent the Defendant,” wrote lead Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise.
Wise said Mosby has “an astonishingly large defense team for a single defendant case with charges and evidence that is not complicated,” and that the Reed Smith attorneys - Rizwan Qureshi, Kelley Miller and Anthony Todd - failed to articulate why there was a conflict and why they can’t continue to handle the case.
He noted that Qureshi and Miller are, like Bolden, partners at their firm.
“[T]he biographies on Reed Smith’s website make clear that both Mr. Qureshi and Ms. Miller are just as capable, if not more capable, than Mr. Bolden to serve as lead counsel in this matter,” Wise wrote.
Attorneys Lucius Outlaw and Gary Proctor said if the Reed Smith firm pulled out, they would be unable to shoulder larger roles in the case. Wise said that because the attorneys shouldn’t be able to pull out, Outlaw and Proctor wouldn’t have to take on larger roles.
The filing notes that Ronald S. Sullivan, a Harvard Law professor, has also been identified in filings as part of the defense team, which brings the number of defense attorneys back to six after Bolden’s departure.
Prosecutors wrote in the motion that, in their view, the case against Mosby is simple and the defense team is unnecessarily large.
“The Defendant is charged with committing perjury on two occasions when she certified that she had experienced one of four ‘adverse financial consequences’ stemming from COVID-19 ... The proof that she did not is not complicated,” Wise wrote. “The Defendant is also charged with two counts of making false statements in a residential mortgage application related to the purchase of two separate vacation properties in Florida. The proof that she made false statements on those applications is also not complicated.
“Given the fact that the charges and the evidence in this case are not complicated and that the case is in a late stage, just 60 days before trial and after extensive pretrial litigation, any one of the four experienced attorneys who have been working on this case for months if not longer, Mr. Qureshi, Ms. Miller, Mr. Outlaw or Mr. Proctor, could try this case on his/her own. But they don’t have to because they have each other.”
Griggsby has given Bolden until Jan. 31 to retain counsel and show good cause why he should not be held in criminal contempt. Mosby’s trial is scheduled for March 27.