Former top Baltimore prosecutor convicted of federal perjury charges

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – Baltimore’s former top prosecutor Marilyn Mosby was found guilty of perjury on Thursday for falsely claiming financial duress to withdraw funds from a retirement plan.

A U.S. District Court jury in Greenbelt, Maryland, convicted Mosby, 42, on both federal perjury counts she faced after hours of deliberation. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Sentencing has yet to be scheduled.

Elected Maryland state’s attorney for Baltimore in 2014 Mosby became the youngest top prosecutor of any major U.S. city and made headlines in 2015 by criminally charging police officers for the death of a Black detainee, Freddie Gray.

Mosby, a Democrat, lost her bid for a third term after she was indicted on federal charges in January 2022.

Mosby said she was innocent of wrongdoing and the victim of a politically motivated prosecution by adversaries in the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office seeking to ruin her re-election chances.

Mosby was convicted of twice falsely claiming in 2020 to have suffered a work-related financial hardship from COVID-19 in order to request two early withdrawals totaling $90,000 from her city employee retirement account.

In both instances, the jury found, Mosby fraudulently cited a federal CARES Act provision allowing for emergency distributions of up to $100,000 from her retirement plan in the event of a furlough, layoff, quarantine, reduced work hours, lack of childcare or impact on one’s own business caused by COVID-19.

Prosecutors said Mosby, who was earning a gross annual salary at the time of nearly $250,000, used the money from her retirement fund toward down payments on two vacation homes in Florida.

Mosby’s defense team argued in court that she did not lie in stating financial hardship because her private travel business took a hit during the pandemic. Prosecutors countered that the travel venture was never a functioning business to begin with.

In a separate case, Mosby still faces two counts of making false statements on mortgage applications seeking a total of $900,000 in loans to buy the Florida properties. She is accused of failing to disclose federal tax delinquencies resulting in a $45,000 lien imposed by the Internal Revenue Service in 2020.

A conviction on either of those two counts would carry a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison.

Mosby, who ran for office as a part of a movement of “progressive prosecutors” promising to address systemic inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system, gained national attention in 2015 when she charged six officers in the police custody death of Freddie Gray, a young Black man.

Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while being transported without a seatbelt in a police van. None of the six officers charged in his death was convicted.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Michael Perry)