A federal judge has set new pretrial deadlines in Marilyn Mosby’s criminal case, but technical problems made it difficult for members of the public to hear any of the discussion surrounding the decision.
Lawyers for the Democratic Baltimore State’s Attorney and federal prosecutors held a conference with Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby after the two sides could not reach an agreement on new deadlines for disclosing witnesses, filing motions and writing jury instructions. Prosecutors wanted everything completed before the July 19 primary election date, whereas Mosby’s team proposed a schedule that would go through the primary and run up near the Sept. 19 trial date.
Griggsby met the two sides in the middle, calling for some motions due from the government, as well as jury instructions, to be filed by July 15. She gave Mosby’s side until July 29, 10 days after the primary election, to respond to the government’s motion.
This is the second time Mosby and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland have been at odds over the schedule of her criminal trial. After her original indictment in January, Mosby and her lawyers demanded a speedy trial, saying they would be ready and wanted to get it over with before the primary election. In predominantly Democratic Baltimore, the primary winner typically wins the general election.
“I know I’ve done nothing wrong, so I’m ready to go to trial tomorrow,” Mosby said during a Feb. 1 appearance on MSNBC. “Put this on trial right now so I can prove my innocence. But let’s get to the election because I know that’s what this is all about.”
But Mosby asked for a continuance in April, which Griggsby granted. Mosby also tried to have the case against her thrown out, but Griggsby sided with the prosecution, finding the government wasn’t prosecuting her for political or racial reasons.
Despite the audio difficulties, defense attorney Rizwan Qureshi could be heard guaranteeing his client’s readiness for trial.
“Ms. Mosby is prepared and eager to go to trial on the September 19 trial date,” he said.
Mosby is charged with two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements on loan applications in order to purchase two Florida vacation homes: an eight-bedroom rental near Disney World and a condo on the state’s Gulf Coast. Mosby’s perjury charges stem from her making early withdrawals from her city retirement savings account under the guise of having suffered financial hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to her indictment.
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Before Congress passed the CARES Act, state and city employees could not access their retirement accounts before retiring unless they stopped working for the government or experienced an “unforeseeable emergency.”
She and her lawyers have maintained her innocence, claiming federal prosecutors are racist and coming after her for political reasons.
The reasoning for the latest disagreement between Mosby and prosecutors was discussed in Monday’s status conference, but members of the public could hardly make out any of what was said due to technical issues. Lawyers for Mosby did not return a request for comment Monday and the U.S. Attorney’s Office does not comment on pending cases.
Earlier filings in the case suggested prosecutors could call up to 15 witnesses, while Mosby’s lawyer A. Scott Bolden said the defense is considering bringing 5 to 10 expert witnesses to the stand.
It’s not the first time the public has had issues with access to proceedings in this case.
Before the April 14 hearing on whether to dismiss the case, members of the press, including The Baltimore Sun, wrote letters to Griggsby asking her to move that hearing to a larger courtroom so more people could attend. Griggsby was originally limiting press attendance to just three reporters and seven members of the public, but opted for the larger room.
More recently, The Sun, The Maryland Daily Record and The Baltimore Banner filed a motion requesting some documents in the case be unsealed, arguing that the decision to keep them hidden from public view was harming the public. Griggsby approved that request in part, unsealing a few filings that Bolden agreed to. Bolden requested some documents remain under seal, and Griggsby granted his request.