Baltimore ex-prosecutor's perjury trial faces more delays

BALTIMORE (AP) — The federal perjury case against Baltimore’s former top prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, who was scheduled to stand trial in March, likely faces further delays after a judge allowed her entire defense team to quit on Friday.

Her six private lawyers had asked to withdraw from the case earlier this month after U.S. District Court Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby announced the potential for criminal contempt charges against lead attorney A. Scott Bolden, whom she accused of violating several court rules.

During a virtual hearing Friday in Baltimore federal court, Griggsby granted the request and announced the results of a recent inquiry into Mosby’s finances, declaring her indigent and therefore eligible to receive representation from a public defender. The Office of the Federal Public Defender for Maryland will represent her moving forward.

Griggsby said it will take some time for Mosby’s new attorney to get up to speed on the case, which will likely drag on even longer. The judge told attorneys on both sides to confer about a potential timeline and report back next week.

Mosby’s trial date has already been pushed back twice. It was most recently scheduled to begin March 27.

Mosby, who faces perjury and mortgage fraud counts, recently left office after serving two high-profile terms as Baltimore state’s attorney. She was defeated in a Democratic primary last year after federal prosecutors accused her of lying about experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to make early withdrawals from her retirement account. She used the money to buy two Florida vacation properties, prosecutors say.

Her salary as state’s attorney was about $248,000 in 2020, the same year she withdrew the money.

Mosby’s attorneys have argued that the pandemic had an impact on both financial markets and Mosby’s personal travel and consulting businesses. They’ve accused prosecutors of having racial or political motives for pursuing the case, though Griggsby previously rejected their assertion of vindictive prosecution. Mosby is Black.

During the hearing Friday, Mosby said she needs new attorneys, even if that means the case gets delayed again.

“I feel like their interests clearly now are adverse to my interests,” she told the judge. “Again, I would like this case to go as quickly as possible so that I can resume my life.”

Griggsby also bemoaned the latest delay. She allowed Mosby’s defense team to withdraw despite objections from prosecutors, who argued that only Bolden was facing a potential conflict of interest because of the impending contempt proceedings against him.

Griggsby previously gave Bolden a Jan. 31 deadline to explain in writing why he shouldn’t be held in criminal contempt for violating court rules. His missteps included using profanity on the courthouse steps, disclosing confidential juror responses and filing a motion without a Maryland law license, the judge said.

Bolden and three of Mosby’s other lawyers, who work at the same firm, argued they should be allowed to withdraw because the sanctions against Bolden created a conflict of interest for them all. The remaining two attorneys said they were representing her in a secondary capacity and didn’t have the time and resources to take over the defense alone.

Lea Skene, The Associated Press