Council President Nick Mosby’s ethics board appeal hearing postponed once again, this time to February

Published 1/10/2023 5:31 p.m. EST, Updated 1/11/2023 8:29 a.m. EST

Council President Nick Mosby speaks during a Baltimore City Board of Estimates meeting inside City Hall on 10/5/22.

A Tuesday court hearing in City Council President Nick Mosby’s appeal of a city ethics board finding that he violated Baltimore’s ethics code was once again postponed, this time to Feb. 13.

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill said he wanted to hear arguments about the appeal itself at Tuesday’s hearing, but decided give city Board of Ethics attorneys more time to respond to a Dec. 27 filing by Mosby’s attorney, Robert Dashiell.

Court policies give opposing parties 30 days to respond to such documents.

Sarah Hall of the Washington, D.C., law firm Epstein Becker & Green, who represents the ethics board, argued Dashiell intentionally filed the 26-page memo after its due date and between two major holidays “to deprive the board of its full right under the rules” to respond.

“Mr. Mosby has made no factual proffer or offered any real reason for his incredibly late filing,” she argued.

This is the latest delay of Mosby’s appeal since the board ruled in May that the Democrat violated Baltimore’s ethics code for elected officials by indirectly soliciting contributions to a legal defense fund for him and his wife, former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

The Mosby 2021 Trust was established as the political power couple made headlines over a federal probe into their finances. The fund accepted donations from at least two contractors who have worked for the city; such contributions from what the ethics code views as “controlled donors” is prohibited.

The board’s report found the fund raised more than $14,000, about $5,000 of which came from controlled donors. It said the politician knew Robyn Murphy, who IRS documents list as the trustee at the time of its creation, socially and made a “conscious effort to obfuscate his knowledge of the affairs of the Mosby Trust.”

The board’s ruling ordered Mosby to cease the fund’s operation and return the donations or potentially face a fine of up to $1,000 a day.

Mosby appealed the ruling in June, saying he never saw a dime of the trust’s money and that he was not involved in its management.

A hearing scheduled last November was postponed after Mosby submitted a motion two business days before the hearing, saying he was unable to secure legal representation.

“The universe of attorneys who ultimately could be found competent to help provide counsel to me is very small,” he told the judge. “When you couple that with the fact that the process is with the city of Baltimore, finding an attorney who does not have conflict with the city is even more challenging.”

Judge Fletcher-Hill agreed to postpone the hearing until January, warning Mosby that if he did procure legal counsel by then he would have to represent himself.

Dashiell, a prominent Baltimore lawyer who has appeared before the city and state spending boards to discuss procurement issues, began representing Mosby last month.

Marilyn Mosby is currently facing federal perjury charges related to allegedly providing false information on mortgage applications for two Florida properties. Her husband has not been charged with a crime.

The former top prosecutor is set to go to trial in March. Though she represented Baltimore and is paid by city dollars, she is governed by state ethics rules and was not a part of the ethic board’s ruling.

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