Marilyn Mosby trial, again postponed, not likely to get

The trial of Marilyn Mosby, expected to start next Monday, has been delayed a second time by the judge, this time to allow prosecutors time to prepare for a late-disclosed witness for the defense.

U.S. District Court Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby sided with the prosecution at a hearing this afternoon – just one day before jury selection was to start for the highly anticipated trial of Baltimore’s state’s attorney on perjury and false statement charges.

Saying she was “disappointed” but “we are where we are,” Griggsby agreed that an expert witness that the defense disclosed last Friday did not give prosecutors enough time to review and potentially rebut with their own expert.

Griggsby stressed that she was delaying the trial “ultimately in fairness to the defense” because Mosby’s attorneys would not have time to prepare for a government witness, which could “cause a mistrial.”

She estimated that the Mosby trial would take three weeks and noted in passing that another trial would take place in early December, suggesting that she expected a new trial date sometime in early 2023.

She announced a hearing tomorrow with prosecutors and defense to determine a trial date.

Originally to Start in May

The trial was originally scheduled for early May, but was delayed to September 19 at Mosby’s request to allow time for a proper defense.

Having lost her bid for a third term in the Democratic primary in July, Mosby will leave as Baltimore’s top criminal prosecutor in January.

During today’s hearing, defense and federal prosecutors traded barbs, with the judge admonishing the defense several times for straying from other pre-trial motions and trying to litigate the case.

In so doing, defense attorney Kelley Miller revealed that Mosby had planned income-producing “events” in 2020 through her side business, Mahogany Elite Enterprises – something Mosby repeatedly denied to authorities, including to Baltimore’s inspector general, after the company’s existence was revealed by The Brew.

Miller said Mosby had developed a website design and business plan after she formed the LLC, which contradicts statements made by Mosby and her previous lawyers at Kramon & Graham that the company was a “long-term venture” that had no clients and produced no income.

Marilyn Mosby, with her husband, City Council President Nick Mosby, denounces the federal indictment at a campaign rally for supporters outside her Reservoir Hill home. (Instagram)

Her plans, however, were thwarted by the same Covid pandemic that struck Walt Disney World and other travel and entertainment conglomerates, “causing incredible volatility in the industry and a dramatic drop in stock prices,” Miller said.

Mosby claimed business expenses – $5,000 in her 2020 federal taxes – connected to Mahogany Elite that were never recovered, Miller added.

In her four-count indictment, Mosby is accused of lying on application forms about suffering a financial hardship when withdrawing $90,000 from her city retirement account in 2020, noting that her income as state’s attorney had advanced by nearly $10,000 (to $248,000) that same year.

Balance sheet of Marilyn Mosby's net worth prepared by the defense's expert witness Jerome B. Schmitt. (Document 111-2, U.S. v. Marilyn Mosby)

Balance sheet of Marilyn Mosby’s net worth, as prepared by defense expert witness Jerome B. Schmitt. (Document 111-2, U.S. v. Marilyn J. Mosby)

Odd Balance Sheet

The defense revealed to prosecutors last Friday that Jerome B. Schmitt, a forensic accountant from Pittsburgh, would testify that Mosby did suffer financial hardship based on his finding that her net worth dropped from $39,270 on December 31, 2019 to $34,796 on March 31, 2020.

Surprisingly, Schmitt’s “balance sheet” shows that Mosby’s net worth bounced back to $70,334 on May 27, 2020.

That was one day after she had applied to make the first withdrawal of retirement funds without penalty based on “adverse financial consequences” permitted by the federal CARES Act.

The balance sheet shows that, despite six years of a $225,000-plus-a-year government salary, Mosby had substantial debts coming into the pandemic.

The balance sheet shows that, despite six years of a $225,000-plus-a-year government salary, Mosby had substantial debts coming into the pandemic.

Debts at the end of 2019 included $30,697 in outstanding student loans, almost $28,000 owed on her BMW, and $26,441 in credit card debt.

Over the next five months, as Covid exploded into a national scourge, Mosby drew down her credit card debt to under $4,000 and also made a sizable dent in her car payments.

Regarding the impact of Covid on her Mahogany Elite business, Schmitt’s financial summary has nothing to say. He leaves the company’s assets and liabilities blank, explaining in a footnote:

As a private business, Mahogany Elite Enterprises, LLC does not receive or provide account statements; as such, the values on this schedule remain blank.

Mosby now says she applied for the retirement account withdrawal because she experienced financial hardship as a result of “the closing or reduction of hours of a business I own or operate,” as allowed under the law.

The withdrawn funds, used to buy two vacation properties worth $1 million in Florida, constitute part of the first and third counts of perjury in the indictment.

Griggsby today rejected a motion by Mosby’s lawyers to dismiss these charges on the grounds that the phrase “adverse financial consequences” is constitutionally vague and the description of the charges in the indictment is ambiguous and subjective.