Court filings affirm Marilyn Mosby plans to use personal business as perjury defense

Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun/TNS

BALTIMORE — Former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby will likely testify at her federal perjury trial that a nascent travel business she owns caused her a financial hardship that led her to withdraw money from her retirement account and purchase two Florida vacation homes.

New court filings from Mosby’s lawyer, Federal Public Defender James Wyda, show Mosby plans to testify so long as Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby approves limitations on what the prosecution can ask during cross examination. Mosby seeks to prevent federal prosecutors from asking her about her alleged mortgage fraud as it relates to the purchase of those two homes — an eight-bedroom house near Disney World and a condo on the Gulf Coast.

In the indictment against her, prosecutors allege Mosby failed to disclose tax liens against her and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby, that she planned to use the first house as a rental property and that she falsified a gift letter to facilitate the purchase of the condo. Griggsby ruled that the perjury charges against Mosby — claims that she lied about experiencing a pandemic-related financial hardship under the federal CARES Act — would be tried separately from the mortgage fraud charges.

Mosby, according to court filings, will admit on the stand that she did use the money she withdrew from her retirement account to purchase the homes, but nothing further. If Griggsby doesn’t limit prosecutors’ scope of questioning during the perjury trial, Mosby plans to exercise her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, her attorneys wrote.

As to her perjury defense, Mosby plans to point to her Mahogany Elite Enterprises LLC, an allegedly inoperable travel company she formed in 2019, and testify that COVID-19 hampered her ability to open the business.

“Mrs. Mosby had invested money in start-up costs, legal and operational fees, and research expenditures, but she was still in the early stages of laying the groundwork to get the business up and running,” Mosby’s attorneys wrote. “Then, when the pandemic made it impossible to proceed with opening the business, she experienced sunk costs, expenses, and expenditures, as well as reduced expected profits.”

The government will seek to introduce statements at trial that show Mosby never planned to operate her businesses while in office, and Mosby is generally not opposing them.

The first of her trials is scheduled to begin Nov. 2 and a date for the mortgage fraud trial has not yet been set. The trial will be held outside of Baltimore in southern Maryland after Griggsby determined the defense presented sufficient evidence of extensive pretrial publicity, some of which, the judge said, “cast the defendant in a negative light.”

A Democrat, Mosby left office in January after two four-year terms as elected prosecutor and an unsuccessful bid for a third. Her entire defense team — six lawyers — quit the case shortly thereafter and were replaced by the public defender.

In July, she filed for divorce from Nick Mosby and her attorneys have said they could call him as a witness.