Jury selection started on Tuesday in the first trial of former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who’s accused of falsely claiming under oath that she experienced an adverse financial consequence from the COVID-19 pandemic to withdraw money early from a retirement account.
Mosby, 43, who served two terms as Baltimore state’s attorney from 2015-2023, is charged with two counts of perjury. Federal prosecutors allege she lied to access $90,000 in a retirement account with the city under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.
U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby recessed court at 4:20 p.m. and asked potential jurors to return on Wednesday.
“It’s going to be a busy day tomorrow,” Griggsby said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Griggsby previously granted a request to move the trial from Baltimore to U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, which covers Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties. That’s in addition to ordering a separate trial on two counts of making a false statement on a loan application, which are related to the purchase of two properties in Florida.
Next, Griggsby proceeded to ask 59 questions of the 64 prospective jurors, which included whether any of them had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Mosby.
At one point, Griggsby asked whether they recognized the names of more than a dozen people, including Shelonda Stokes, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, and Erin Murphy, former chief counsel at the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office who later became director of government affairs for the Baltimore Police Department.
Later, Griggsby individually brought potential jurors into the courtroom for follow-up questions. Some portions of the court proceedings were sealed.
Meanwhile, Federal Public Defender James Wyda, one of Mosby’s attorneys, asked for a break before noon so his client could attend a “state court matter.”
“We can’t proceed without the defendant,” Griggsby responded. “It sounds like we don’t really have a choice.”
In 2022, Ivan Bates, a defense attorney in Baltimore, won the Democratic primary for Baltimore state’s attorney and ran unopposed on Election Day. He was sworn-in on Jan. 3.
Griggsby said the trial is expected to last for three weeks. Both sides are expected on Thursday to deliver opening statements.