BALTIMORE — Defense lawyers for Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby held a press conference on Monday afternoon to respond to a federal indictment that came down just days ago.
Mosby was indicted January 13 on perjury charges and making false statements on mortgage applications, relating to the purchases of two vacation homes in Florida.
Attorney A. Scott Bolden represents Mosby. He claims the case is based on misinformation and has called the investigation a politically motivated witch hunt.
Prosecutors allege that Mosby twice lied in 2020 when she withdrew a total of $90,000 from her city Deferred Compensation Plan.
At the time, the federal government allowed applicants to make such withdrawals only if they had experienced certain financial hardship as result of COVID-19.
Prosecutors say Mosby falsely claimed COVID related financial hardships in order to qualify, despite receiving her full gross salary of nearly a quarter-million dollars, which breaks down to $9,183.54 every two-weeks.
In fact, charging documents say Mosby had received a more than $9,000 raise from 2019 to 2020.
Bolden defended Mosby's actions on Monday, suggesting that her private businesses were negatively impacted from the pandemic.
That explanation is somewhat of a reversal from what Mosby and her lawyers said last year, when the Baltimore City Inspector General released a report into three of her private businesses; Mahogany Elite Enterprises, LLC; Mahogany Elite Travel; and Mahogany Elite Consulting.
The Inspector General found no evidence of revenue or income related to the businesses, but did find $5,000 of related expenses reported on Mosby's 2019 personal tax return. Another major revelation from the Inspector General was Mosby's initial failure to report the businesses on a 2019 State financial disclosure form.
Her lawyers at the time pushed back saying "The companies that our client formed in 2019 are not operational. The companies are brand new and are not yet conducting business."
Bolden on Monday seemed to contradict that, claiming the businesses qualified for the funds Mosby applied for.
"I don't know how you define operational, I'm telling you those businesses were running, and they were being pursued and they were legally on the books," said Bolden.
Weeks after the Inspector General's report was released, WMAR-2 reported that Mosby was under federal investigation along with her husband, City Council President Nick Mosby, who thus far has not been charged with any crime.
At the time, prosecutors issued multiple subpoenas to Mosby associates for any and all information related to their businesses and campaigns dating back to January 2014.
The charging documents that resulted from that investigation also accuse Mrs. Mosby of making false statements on mortgage applications for two homes in Florida she purchased for a combined $918,900.
Mosby was required in those applications to disclose whether or not she had been delinquent or in default on any Federal debt or other loans and mortgages.
She allegedly denied owing anything, when in reality a $45,022 lien had been placed on she and her husband's properties as result of unpaid taxes between 2014 and 2015. Bolden claims she knew nothing about the lien at the time, although charging documents show the IRS sent mailings in November 2015 and 2016 to Mosby's home notifying her of the debts. From 2017 to 2019, the IRS sent three more letters to Mosby's home advising that her tax returns for each of those years would be withheld and instead go towards her unpaid debts. In March 2020, the lien was placed by the IRS.
Additionally, Mosby allegedly signed an agreement that would have made one of the homes in Florida her second residence, which gave her exclusive control over the property, including for short-term rentals.
The feds say that was illegal, because she had already signed paperwork before that with a home management company giving them control over the rental of the property.
If convicted, Mosby faces a maximum sentence of 70-years behind bars. She is up for reelection in late June. Bolden says he is hoping to have the case go to trial within 70 days.