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Few Baltimore political leaders speaking out in wake of state's attorney indictment

Emily Opilo, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in News & Features

BALTIMORE — Political leaders in Baltimore and across the state were reluctant to react publicly Friday to news of the city’s top prosecutor being indicted on federal criminal charges, responding with commitments to double down on work and not let the charges become a distraction.

Following the early 2021 revelation of a federal investigation and months of public speculation, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was charged Thursday with perjury related to a COVID-19 financial hardship withdrawal from her retirement savings and making false statements during the purchase of two homes in Florida.

The indictment outlines a scheme in which Mosby withdrew money without penalty from her city retirement account, stating she experienced a financial setback due to the coronavirus pandemic. She then used that money toward a down payment on a rental property in Florida where, according to the indictment, she lied by saying she didn’t have a federal tax lien and falsely said the property was a second home instead of a rental, which could mean a lower mortgage interest rate.

News of the charges was still washing over city residents Thursday evening as the first top officials declined to comment on the matter. Gov. Larry Hogan, who has been critical of Mosby, arguing her prosecutorial choices contribute to violent crime in the city, declined to comment on the charges. Just two months ago, Hogan ordered a review of state funding to Mosby’s office and demanded detailed statistics on how often her office dismisses cases or strikes deals with defendants.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott pledged not to allow the charges to distract his administration.

“With so much at stake, Mayor Scott will continue to champion transparency and accountability to maintain trust in City Hall and prove that local government can operate in the best interests of Baltimoreans,” his spokesman Cal Harris said. “Mayor Scott will not allow these charges to distract his administration from addressing Baltimore’s most pressing needs and paving a new way for our city.”

 

Commissioner Michael Harrison, who works closely with Mosby to prosecute charges related to the Baltimore Police Department’s work also pledged through a spokeswoman to remain focused in the wake of the indictment.

“The Police Commissioner is focused on the job of improving the management practices of the police department so that we can be a more effective agency to reduce crime and to keep the residents of Baltimore safe,” said spokeswoman Amanda Krotki.

Few members of Baltimore’s state delegation were willing to comment Friday. Those that did worried about the distrust the case could cause for city residents.

State Sen. Jill Carter said we “don’t know enough” to weigh in on the charges but called it “sad for the city” that the case could cast a cloud over city government.

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