The federal trial of outgoing Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby has been pushed back to late March.
The trial had been set to kick off with jury selection Thursday, but a judge on Wednesday agreed the prosecution needed additional preparation time following recent defense disclosures. It will now start with jury selection on March 23, with the trial beginning March 27.
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.
At a hearing Thursday, the two sides continued to bicker over expert disclosures made by the defense. Each is required to lay out what their expert witnesses will say on the stand, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise said the defense disclosures continue to be lacking.
“We still don’t have sufficient disclosures from the defense,” Wise told U.S. District Judge Lydia K. Griggsby, who had already twice asked the defense to share more.
Defense attorneys had blasted the prosecution team a day earlier, saying they should have been ready with experts knowing the general contours of the potential defense strategy. But Griggsby again Thursday instructed the defense to follow through and give more detailed information to the prosecution.
Mosby’s lead defense attorney, A. Scott Bolden, had said Wednesday outside of the courthouse that it was “bullshit” that the government requested a delay over the issue. He apologized to Griggsby on Thursday for using profanity.
The government earlier Thursday moved for a gag order based on Bolden’s remarks, in which he also issued a warning to government employees that the government could prosecute them for withdrawing funds from their retirement accounts.
“This case should be tried inside the federal courthouse, not on its steps,” prosecutors wrote in a motion.
Griggsby did not take up the request Thursday.
A key part of the case is whether Mosby suffered a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic that would allow her to make an early withdrawal from her retirement account under the CARES Act. Records show her salary went up and debts had declined.
The defense shared this month that it will likely argue that Mosby suffered a setback because she intended to operate a side business while serving as state’s attorney.
The defense wants to call an expert who would show that the travel industry as a whole suffered from the pandemic, listing plummeting stock values for companies such as Walt Disney World, Carnival cruises and Southwest Airlines.
“I have no idea what that has to do with Mahogany Enterprises,” Wise said, referring to Mosby’s side company.
The expert is also expected to testify that Mosby suffered a drop in her net worth, pointing to a decline in the value of her retirement account. Wise said that disclosure needed more explanation as well.
Griggsby said she was postponing the trial not just so the prosecution could find an expert, but as a “fairness issue ultimately of the defense.”
“These issues are so central to two of the charges in this case,” she said.
Bolden on Thursday also floated the idea that both sides be required to lock in their expected witnesses. “I don’t want the government to change their view of the world,” Bolden said.
Wise said the request “isn’t how we try cases” and was “just not what’s done.” Griggsby didn’t entertain the request, but did tell the two sides to keep each other apprised of changes in their planned cases.