Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby on Thursday took the blame for the federal tax problems afflicting him and his now ex-wife, testifying at her mortgage fraud trial that he caused them to owe tens of thousands of dollars and lied about taking care of the debt to protect their family.

Mosby, a Democrat who’s running this year for reelection, said he incurred significant tax liabilities from not withholding enough from his paycheck, receiving a severance check and withdrawing money from a retirement account. Later, he said, he entered into four to five payment plans with the Internal Revenue Service without her knowledge.

Mosby testified that he viewed the debt as “my complete tax liability” and did not want to burden her with an added life stress. They’ve since divorced.

His ex-wife, Marilyn Mosby, 44, a Democrat who served as Baltimore state’s attorney from 2015-2023, is standing trial in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on two counts of making a false statement on a loan application. She’s accused of lying on mortgage applications — including not disclosing that she owed taxes or reporting the existence of a more than $45,000 tax lien — for two luxury vacation homes: a house in Kissimmee, Florida, near Walt Disney World, and a condominium in Longboat Key, Florida, on the state’s southwest Gulf Coast.

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She pleaded not guilty and maintains her innocence. Her attorneys have argued that she was a rookie when it came to real estate and acted in good faith, relying upon family members and licensed professionals to navigate the mortgage process.

”Sitting here today, do you regret causing the tax problems?” asked Federal Public Defender James Wyda, one of Marilyn Mosby’s attorneys.

“Tremendously,” Nick Mosby replied. “Ultimately, it was my mismanagement of the tax situation, and all that has come with it, sitting here today in court, because of my actions.”

Throughout the morning, Nick Mosby testified in detail about the history of their relationship and respective political careers. They met while undergraduate students at Tuskegee University, a historically Black university in Alabama, and got married in 2005.

“She was a mirror of myself,” Nick Mosby testified. “She grew up with humble beginnings. She cared very much about her community. She loved her family. She was beautiful, she was exciting.”

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“From the day I met her, I was in love with her,” he added.

They have two daughters, he testified, who are now 13 and 15. He seemed to become emotional at times on the witness stand.

“Do you wish to have a break, Mr. Mosby?” U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby asked at one point.

“I’m OK, your honor,” he replied.

In 2014, Marilyn Mosby ran for Baltimore state’s attorney and defeated the incumbent, Gregg Bernstein, becoming one of the youngest top prosecutors in the United States. She was “extremely committed to the job” and the couple became “kind of like passing ships in the night at times,” Nick Mosby testified.

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Several months into her first term in 2015, Marilyn Mosby charged six Baltimore Police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man who died from injuries sustained in custody. None of the cases resulted in convictions.

At that time, Nick Mosby testified, his wife was under a “tremendous amount of scrutiny.” She was experiencing the pressures of the job, he said, and receiving death threats.

They got into an argument.

That’s when Marilyn Mosby, he said, starting going through the mail while he was upstairs and stumbled upon a notice from the IRS. “She screams my name for me to come down,” he testified. “That’s when she finds out about it.”

Nick Mosby said he told her that he had everything covered and that it would be fine. He said he did not correct her misperception that he was on top of the tax issue from 2015-2020.

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Eventually, Nick Mosby testified, he received a letter threatening a tax lien. He said he called the IRS and spoke to an agent who informed him that there was none and outlined his options. Next, he said, he reached out to Optima Tax Relief.

In 2020, Nick Mosby testified, they were at the home in Florida when a reporter texted his wife and told her that she had a tax lien. “Nick,” he said she asked him, “what’s going on?”

“I told her that I didn’t know anything about it. ‘He’s lying. He always tries to harass you. He always tries to get in your head’,” Nick Mosby testified. “And I contacted a tax attorney.”

The attorney, he said, could not find the tax lien.

Nick Mosby said he got approved for a loan at Harbor Bank to take care of the tax debt but did not go forward because the interest rate was “very high.” But he testified that he told his wife that he’d taken care of the issue.

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“And that was a lie?” Wyda asked.

“That was a lie,” Nick Mosby replied.

He said he eventually came clean to her that he had not resolved the issue after the FBI interviewed him on his birthday in 2021 at Baltimore City Hall. His wife, he said, was “absolutely livid.”

Marilyn Mosby, he said, “lost complete faith in my ability to deal with this issue” and was “extremely upset about it.” She agreed to co-sign a loan with him.

Later in his testimony, Nick Mosby discussed how his wife became interested in buying the condo in Florida, believing that it was a good opportunity.

When they were in bed, Nick Mosby testified, his wife’s mortgage broker, Gilbert Bennett, called her and stated that he needed a gift letter for $5,000 to close on the property.

Nick Mosby testified that he agreed to sign the letter and believed that he would have the money. He said he had no expectation that his wife would pay him back.

Wyda asked why the jury should believe him after he admitted to lying to his wife.

“I’ve done a tremendous amount of damage to my family,” said Nick Mosby, who also noted that he was under oath. “I want to be completely honest to the jury and to this process.”

Later, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky began his cross-examination, which will resume on Monday.

At one point, Nick Mosby asked the judge how to respond to two questions that are contradictory. Later, in response to a different question, he testified, “I think the fact that we didn’t pay our taxes is why you secretly recorded me and we started this whole process.”

Griggsby directed the court reporter to strike that answer from the record.

“No further questions for today,” Zelinsky said. “I have a lot more questions.”

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