Baltimore’s attorney general, Marilyn Mosby, was charged Thursday with perjury to get money from a retirement fund and false testimony in loan applications to buy two Florida vacation homes.
Charges against 41-year-old Ms Mosby, who was first elected state attorney in 2014 and gained national attention the following year for investigating the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in custody the police were brought forward after a month-long investigation by federal authorities.
In 2020, Ms Mosby made two requests to withdraw about $ 90,000 from her city retirement account, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland.
She faces two charges of perjury in the requests filed under the CARES Act, as she claimed the pandemic caused her financial difficulties. But at the time, she was fully employed and was making nearly $ 250,000 a year, according to the indictment.
“Instead of experiencing a shrinking income in 2020, Mosby’s gross salary increased in 2020,” the indictment said, noting that it received an increase of nearly $ 10,000 from last year.
The prosecutor’s office said it was also charged with perjury on a loan application for two Florida vacation homes.
According to the indictment, Ms Mosby used the money she had withdrawn to make a down payment on the houses. In her mortgage applications, she did not indicate that she owed more than $ 45,000 to the IRS. In March 2020, the IRS seized all property belonging to Ms Mosby. The bail was also applied to her husband Nick Mosby, president of Baltimore City Council. He has not been charged in the case.
Prosecutors said Ms Mosby also failed to disclose her tax concerns in an agreement she signed with a management company to rent out one of the holiday homes. That way, they said, she could get a lower interest rate on the mortgage.
According to the indictment, mortgages totaled more than $ 900,000 for both homes in Kissimmee and Longboat Key. She was listed as the sole owner of both houses. In November, she sold the Kissimmee property, an eight-bedroom home, according to property records.
If found guilty, Ms. Mosby faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each count of perjury and 30 years for each of forging loan applications.
A. Scott Bolden, Ms. Mosby’s lawyer, firmly denied the allegations against his client and called them “far-fetched.”
In an interview Thursday night, he said the investigation was part of a “historic attack on black female prosecutors.” He added that Ms. Mosby has no plans to leave her post.
Mr Bolden said that Ms Mosby claimed that she was in financial difficulties because she owned a tourism startup and that she did not disclose the tax lien on her property because she did not know about it. He said that Miss Mosby’s husband handled the couple’s taxes.
Mr Mosby did not respond to emails Thursday night.
When Ms. Mosby became Baltimore’s state attorney in 2015, she was 34 years old and the youngest attorney in any major American city.
Three months after serving his sentence, Freddie Gray died in police custody after a spinal cord injury. Video footage shows the police carrying his limp body into a police van. His death sparked protests against excessive force and heightened awareness of black police killings. Riots broke out, police cars were set on fire. A curfew was imposed in the city.
Two weeks after the death of Mr. Gray, Miss Mosby announced that she would be pursuing six police officers. They were charged with crimes including manslaughter and murder. This decision was challenged by critics, who said she acted too hastily in what was inevitably an uphill battle.
Three officers were acquitted by the judge, who stated that there was insufficient evidence. Ms. Mosby then dropped the remaining charges against the three police officers, another controversial decision.
However, in 2018, Ms Mosby cleverly won another four-year term, which is due to expire this year. At least two candidates have announced they will challenge her to the Democratic primary this summer. On Thursday, they raised concerns on social media about Ms Mosby’s alleged actions.
Ms. Mosby and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan have clashed repeatedly over the right approach to tackling the violence in Baltimore.
In a speech on Fox News last month, Mr. Hogan blamed Ms. Mosby and her refusal to prosecute violent crimes as “a big part of the problem” of escalating violence. Ms. Mosby responded with an open letter accusing Mr. Hogan of “unrelenting dog whistle attacks on crime in Baltimore” and fueling fears to “score political points with your conservative base.”
Sheela McNeill contributed to research.