A day after City Council President Nick Mosby’s ex-wife was found guilty on charges that also implicated him, he said he is intent on running for reelection and argued Baltimore residents shouldn’t conflate mistakes he’s made in his personal life with his work in City Hall.

Nick Mosby hasn’t been charged with any crimes, but claims made by federal prosecutors in open court that he committed perjury on his tax returns have clouded his political future just months out from May’s Democratic primary. The incumbent faces a competitive race against challengers Councilman Zeke Cohen and former Councilwoman Shannon Sneed. As of Wednesday, he had yet to make his candidacy official ahead of Friday’s filing deadline, and his campaign website remained inactive.

While Mosby testified in U.S. District Court last week in defense of his ex-wife and former State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, federal prosecutors said that he “repeatedly committed perjury” on his tax returns, claiming deductions for charitable contributions at a time when he owed tens of thousands of dollars in taxes, fell months behind on mortgage payments, and had his wages garnished and his car repossessed.

Asked about the perjury allegations Wednesday, Mosby said he “wholeheartedly” believes he can do his job leading the City Council and the city spending board. He also said he regretted lying at a 2020 news conference about the status of his payments to the IRS — another revelation of his testimony during his ex-wife’s fraud trial.

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“I made a mistake. We learn from our mistakes and we move on,” Mosby told reporters after Wednesday’s Board of Estimates meeting. “Folks know exactly who I am and what it means to the city, and that’s why I have a tremendous amount of support.”

The council president said he intends to file for reelection by Friday’s 9 p.m. deadline and pointed voters to his track record in elected office — not his personal financial troubles — when deciding whether he’s fit to lead.

The comments came the morning after a jury in Greenbelt found his ex-wife guilty on one count of mortgage fraud and innocent on another. The jury deliberated for more than seven hours Tuesday before determining that Marilyn Mosby lied when she wrote a letter claiming that her husband at the time had agreed to gift her $5,000 at closing toward a condominium in Longboat Key, Florida, on the state’s southwest Gulf Coast. Investigators testified that bank records showed Marilyn Mosby had provided the money to Nick Mosby herself.

On a separate count, the jury concluded that the former state’s attorney did not make a false statement on a mortgage application for a home in Kissimmee, Florida, a not guilty verdict that Nick Mosby said Wednesday may have resulted from his decision to testify.

The council president took the blame for creating the tax debt and testified that he repeatedly lied to his ex-wife about taking care of it to protect their family. He said Wednesday that the not guilty verdict was a marker that the jury believed his testimony.

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For the most part, Mosby’s peers in City Hall have stayed quiet about the courtroom perjury claims, which the U.S. attorney has since put into writing in a court filing. None of his colleagues on the City Council responded to requests for comment last week in the wake of the claims.

At a news conference Wednesday, Mayor Brandon Scott said questions about the council president’s fitness for office should be settled by voters.

“As long as he is serving in that role as council president, he has a duty to do that role. And the voters in Baltimore will determine whether he should have that or not,” the mayor said. “For me, I just have to do my job and work with whoever’s in the room.”

Asked about the split verdict in the trial, Scott said “first and foremost” he is keeping Nick and Marilyn Mosby’s two young daughters in his thoughts and added that he remains focused on his own job.

As City Council president, Mosby is the chief legislator over his 14 colleagues representing districts throughout Baltimore. He appoints committee chairs and members and helps decide which bills move through the legislative process. Mosby also chairs the city’s spending board where a majority of the members are chosen by the mayor.

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Comptroller Bill Henry, who also sits alongside Mosby on the Board of Estimates, said he remains focused on his own work, noting that residents will have a chance to determine the council president’s political future in just a few months.

“I try not to comment on other people’s personal lives if it doesn’t affect the day-to-day work of the city,” he said in a statement. “The question of fitness is for the voters.”

Mosby’s decision to testify in his ex-wife’s trial also resulted in an admission that he lied publicly about the status of his payments to the IRS at a 2020 news conference. According to reporting at the time by the Baltimore Brew, Mosby — who had been elected but not yet sworn in as the city’s next council president — told reporters that he had paid off the entirety of the tax lien against him and his then-wife.

“If I could do it over, I wish I would have handled it differently,” Mosby said Wednesday of his decision to lie. “I wish I would have just said this is a personal matter.”

Mosby had been unable to file his candidacy because of thousands of dollars in unpaid fines he owed to the Maryland State Board of Elections. He has resolved much of that debt in recent days, but as of Wednesday the board’s database still listed an outstanding balance for his campaign of $1,375.

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A spokesman for Mosby said that to his knowledge all fines had been resolved and the board’s figure was out of date.

While Mosby has yet to complete the formal steps to confirm his candidacy for reelection, he aggressively raised money in the six weeks leading up to last month’s campaign finance filing deadline, raising nearly $200,000.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has declined to comment on whether it intends to file perjury charges against the council president. Mosby said Wednesday he is “not at all” concerned about that possibility.

“When the federal government came into City Hall and did what they did to publicly announce its investigation, I sat down with them at the time,” he said. “Every time that they reached out, I sat down, and I was willing to take the stand.”

Adam Willis covers city government for The Banner, including the impacts of the large COVID-19 stimulus package that Baltimore received from the federal government. 

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