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Judge permits Marilyn Mosby's entire defense team to quit case

Lee O. Sanderlin, Baltimore Sun on

Published in News & Features

BALTIMORE — U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby allowed all six of Marilyn Mosby’s criminal defense lawyers to withdraw from her perjury and mortgage fraud case, issuing her ruling Friday morning.

Griggsby’s decision comes after all of Mosby’s defense attorneys requested to withdraw from the case earlier this month after Griggsby found lead defense attorney A. Scott Bolden had violated court rules and procedures. Griggsby threatened Bolden with criminal contempt of court, including a possible criminal referral to the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland.

The other members of Bolden’s firm— Rizwan Qureshi, Kelley Miller and Anthony Todd, all of Reed Smith LLP — also asked to withdraw, claiming Bolden’s disciplinary hearing also created a conflict of interest for them, and that they would not be able to give Mosby their full attention in the run-up to her March trial. Mosby had two pro bono lawyers, Lucius Outlaw and Gary Proctor, who both asked to be removed because they would not be available for the trial dates and were only acting in a supporting capacity to begin with.

Griggsby did not find a formal conflict of interest existed for the Reed Smith team, but determined one could exist and that a distracted defense team would present challenges. Griggsby ruled that the lawyers had demonstrated good cause to be removed from the case.

Mosby, who rarely speaks about her case or her lawyers, said in court she no longer believes the Reed Smith team could provide her constitutionally sufficient representation.

“I feel like their interests are clearly now adverse to my interests, and I need conflict-free counsel,” Mosby said.


Qureshi, who spoke on behalf of the Reed Smith attorneys, said the decision to withdraw from the case has nothing to do with Mosby’s innocence. Bolden did not speak during the hearing. The three other Reed Smith lawyers maintain they are conflicted out because they have to serve as witnesses to Bolden’s contempt issue.

“We maintain Ms. Mosby’s innocence and the motion is regrettable,” Qureshi said.

Mosby, the former two-term Baltimore state’s attorney, is charged with two counts each of perjury and mortgage fraud. Federal prosecutors claim she lied about experiencing adverse financial conditions in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to make two early withdrawals from her city-managed retirement account. The money she withdrew, about $80,000, was used to make down payments on two Florida vacation properties: an eight-bedroom rental near Disney World and a condo on the Gulf Coast.

Prosecutors claim Mosby failed to disclose a federal tax lien against her and her husband on either mortgage application, lied about her intended use for the Disney-area home, and lied about having lived in Florida when purchasing the condo. The reason for doing so would be to get more favorable loan terms, prosecutors have said in court fillings.


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