Federal prosecutors rested their case Tuesday in the federal perjury trial of Marilyn Mosby, and as trial wrapped for the day they issued a warning should the former top prosecutor take the stand in her own defense.

After defense attorneys said they were weighing whether to have Mosby testify, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky rose and went over five areas that they would seek to press her on cross-examination.

Those areas included:

  • More than $7,000 that Mosby deducted from her taxes that were Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office expenses, which Zelinsky said the government believed were “improper deductions.”
  • $18,000 in charitable deductions that she claimed in 2019. The Baltimore Sun reported in 2021 that federal authorities had been probing such donations, though no charges were ever leveled. But Zelinsky indicated prosecutors believed she could not substantiate the donations.
  • A “sub-bucket” of mortgage fraud, in which Mosby wrote that she had been living in a Florida home for 70 days. “We want to ask questions about the letter to show it’s an untruthful statement,” Zelinsky said.

Outside the courtroom, Mosby and her attorneys declined to address the claims. But it’s been previously disclosed that the FBI subpoenaed churches and nonprofits in the investigation of Mosby and her husband, City Council President Nick Mosby, and that federal prosecutors in Maryland recommended to the Department of Justice’s tax division that Marilyn Mosby be charged with tax-related crimes, which were not brought.

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Prosecutors called just three witnesses over the course of about 1 1/2 days, and the defense said that with the exception of Mosby’s possible testimony, they, too, had finished putting on witnesses and evidence. The majority of the testimony centered on whether a side company Mosby incorporated in 2019 had actually taken steps toward launching.

Mosby, 43, is on trial in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on two counts of perjury, with prosecutors charging that she lied about suffering a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to gain access to $90,000 in retirement funds and purchase two Florida vacation homes.

Prosecutors say she suffered no such hardship. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Delaney told jurors in opening statements Monday the case is “about a lawyer and a public servant, who placed her own selfish interests in front of the truth.”

Defense attorneys say Mosby had plans to operate a business called Mahogany Elite Enterprises, hosting retreats for professional women of color, but the company failed to launch due to the pandemic. That, they say, qualified her for distributions from her retirement account under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act that cited the closing or reduction of hours of a business she owned or operated as an eligible “adverse financial hardship.” The rules surrounding what met the criteria were not specifically defined.

“What she did is not criminal,” assistant public defender Maggie Grace told jurors in opening statements.

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The company never took on any clients; it brought in no revenue. She did not list it in financial disclosure forms, and when it was discovered in July 2020 by The Baltimore Brew, Mosby said it was a “long-term venture” that she had no intentions to operate while in office.

Downtown Partnership President Shelonda Stokes, a friend of Mosby, testified that they took a trip to Jamaica together in April 2019 that inspired them to discuss starting up a company that could cater to professional Black women.

“Part of the thought was, how do we create something where we can make money, obviously, and do something that was good for people who you knew were experiencing what you’re experiencing,” Stokes testified.

She said when they came back, Mosby “started the business without me” but that she participated in meetings about the company and with “interested parties,” though she did not give specifics.

The defense said Tuesday that Mosby publicly disavowed her true intentions for the company for “political reasons” and based on advice from her state’s attorney’s office staff.

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“Mrs. Mosby insisted she was allowed to do this [run a side company while in office], she wanted to do this, and her team were advising her that for political reasons she needed to not operate the business,” defense attorney Lucius Outlaw III said Tuesday morning.

Zy Richardson, Mosby’s former director of communications at the state’s attorney’s office, testified that she advised Mosby that the side work as she was earning a $250,000 taxpayer salary as Baltimore’s top prosecutor was bad politics. She said Mosby initially balked, then agreed to publicly walk away from the company.

Prosecutors previously showed that Mosby claimed $5,000 in expenses related to the company — the maximum allowable for a company that had no revenue — as write-offs on her 2019 taxes. During testimony of FBI accountant Jenna Bender, prosecutors presented evidence suggesting that Mosby listed travel and other expenses that were actually related to her duties as state’s attorney and personal travel.

Defense attorneys said prosecutors were “implying tax fraud,” which Mosby is not charged with. On cross-examination Tuesday, the defense suggested that Mosby was conducting research and having meetings on those trips that did relate to her business.

“Sitting here today, you don’t know whether at these locations she had business meetings with hotel management about amenities for groups” or meeting with local vendors or business people about sponsorships, asked assistant public defender Maggie Grace, another member of the team.

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“No,” Bender said.

The defense also presented evidence that Mosby had corresponded with a media consultant company for the design of a website, logo and business plan. But prosecutors countered that there was no record of any such payments to the company in their review of all of Mosby’s financial accounts.

Mosby is also facing charges of making false statements on a mortgage application, though those charges were severed and must be tried separately.


This story’s photo caption has been updated with the correct spelling of James Wyda’s name.