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Baltimore officials Nick and Marilyn Mosby push back against federal probe

Baltimore State’s Attorney  Marilyn Mosby and City Council President Nick Mosby, then a state delegate, in 2019.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and City Council President Nick Mosby, then a state delegate, in 2019. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

A lawyer for Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is pushing back against a federal investigation into the couple’s tax and business affairs, alleging misconduct by U.S. prosecutors and asking that the inquiry be suspended.

“I request that these prosecutors be immediately removed from this baseless and politically-motivated investigation,” A. Scott Bolden, who represents the Mosbys, said in a letter to the Office of Professional Responsibility for the U.S. Justice Department.

The letter, obtained by The Washington Post, came after the Baltimore Sun reported Friday that a federal grand jury had subpoenaed a range of financial records related to the Democratic power couple: tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, loan documents and canceled checks.

They subpoenaed Marilyn Mosby’s campaign treasurer and requested records tracing back to 2014, some related to the Mosbys’ private travel and consulting businesses, the Sun reported.

Neither of the Mosbys has been charged with a crime, and Bolden said in a statement that “they have done nothing illegal, inappropriate or unlawful.”

Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Baltimore, said she could not comment on the letter or investigation. “We cannot confirm or deny investigations,” she said.

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Federal prosecutors frequently use the subpoena power of grand juries to aid investigations. A grand jury can call witnesses, ask questions and demand records. Ultimately, if prosecutors decide to go forward with a case, it is up to the grand jury whether to indict.

In his letter, Bolden said FBI agents interrupted Nick Mosby’s participation at a March 10 Board of Estimates meeting to speak with him. “Rather than leave a subpoena or conduct their field investigation outside of the scope of public view, the FBI interrupted Council President Mosby during a public meeting in an effort to alert the public of the pending investigation,” Bolden wrote, saying the agents acted at the direction of prosecutors.

The meeting was held virtually because of the coronavirus, and video shows that Nick Mosby participated until its end.

Bolden’s letter also alleges that prosecutors “intentionally revealed facts of a secret grand jury investigation to the media in an effort to harass, degrade, and embarrass my clients.”

Prosecutors are prohibited from disclosing grand jury matters, and Bolden’s letter does not contain evidence that they did. Instead, the letter said that there “is reason to believe” a prosecutor leaked information to a reporter with whom he had a “close relationship” and that another reporter had asked Nick Mosby for comment about a subpoena served on him, a development not publicly known.

Read Bolden’s letter to the Justice Department

Journalists sometimes receive information about grand jury proceedings from those who receive subpoenas or are called to testify before them. Unlike prosecutors, witnesses are not barred from talking about their experiences.

Marilyn Mosby gained national prominence in 2015, after she filed charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old Black man whose fatal injury while in police custody triggered rioting in the city. None of the officers was convicted.

In more recent years, Marilyn Mosby has implemented a policy against prosecuting those in possession of marijuana unless there is evidence of intent to distribute.

Nick Mosby took office last year as president of the City Council after a stint as a state delegate and council member. He ran for mayor before serving in the House of Delegates but dropped out of that race.

The Sun said it obtained a copy of a subpoena issued to Marilyn Mosby’s campaign treasurer through a public records request, after the treasurer forwarded the subpoena to state elections officials along with an email about the use of campaign funds for legal fees.

Bolden’s letter, sent to the Justice Department on Friday, traced what he called U.S. prosecutors’ animus toward Marilyn Mosby back to contention over whether a prosecutor in her office tipped off a member of a corrupt Baltimore police Gun Trace Task Force to a federal investigation.

A U.S. prosecutor referred to the potential leak during a public hearing several years ago while seeking to keep one of the officers detained, without naming the city prosecutor with whom the officer had spoken.

Marilyn Mosby ultimately fired the prosecutor, though she said the woman could not have known about and did not leak information about the federal investigation.

Bolden wrote that for more than a year, Marilyn Mosby had “engaged in dialogue with” federal prosecutors Stephen Schenning and Leo Wise “about their rationale for implicating her office in what was determined to be unsubstantiated accusations that were motivated simply to cast aspersions on her office.”

Given that “tumultuous history,” he said, Schenning and Wise should have recused themselves from the investigation involving the Mosbys.

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