Update, 3:47 pm ET: WJZ suddenly pulled down their earlier story, as Pugh has been located at one of her Baltimore homes. The new story still uses a similar headline — “Where is Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh?”:
Where is Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh? It’s the question buzzing around the city as the FBI and IRS raid Pugh’s home, City Hall and several other locations tied to her Thursday. But, no one has seen the mayor even though she’s supposed to be recovering from pneumonia.
WJZ has learned Pugh is at one of her Baltimore homes, despite an earlier report saying she was out of town.
Pugh is currently meeting with her legal team.
Actually, as seen below, the CBS affiliate reported from their source that Pugh left the state. Someone got it wrong. At any rate, Pugh’s meeting with her legal counsel now to review her options. They don’t look too good at the moment.
Original post follows …
The hits just keep coming for Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh, but the hits might also have trouble finding her. Baltimore’s CBS affiliate WJZ reports that Pugh was on hand when the FBI and IRS conducted a multi-location raid, including at the residence where she is supposedly recuperating from a bout of pneumonia. By the time the raids ended, Pugh might have felt well enough to go on the run:
Where is Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh? It’s the question buzzing around the city as the FBI and IRS raid Pugh’s home, City Hall and several other locations tied to her Thursday. But, no one has seen the mayor and her own spokesperson doesn’t know where she is even though she’s supposed to be recovering from pneumonia.
Pugh’s spokesman, James Bentley, told The Associated Press Thursday that he hadn’t spoken with the mayor and doesn’t know where she is. Her defense attorney, Steve Silverman, did not immediately return calls; his office routed calls to an answering machine.
However, a source tells WJZ however Pugh was at her home when the raid began, but has since left the state.
That’s … not a great look. At this point, as Jazz has extensively covered here, Pugh’s political career is toast anyway, but she might still have been able to curry some sympathy from the community if she stuck around and fought back. Leaving not just the city but the state when Pugh has two perfectly fine homes in Baltimore in the middle of an FBI-IRS raid will almost certainly sap what’s left of any presumption of moral innocence the community might still have had of Pugh.
It’s not just Pugh under the microscope, either. Along with both of Pugh’s homes, the FBI and IRS conducted raids on Pugh’s mayoral office, the home of Pugh aide Gary Brown Jr, and the Maryland Center for Adult Training, which Pugh chaired. The final location for the raids certainly will raise eyebrows all over town — the law offices of Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White, LLC, which represents Pugh. The attorneys issued a statement that claimed it wasn’t exactly a raid:
Her attorney said the requested documents had previously been sequestered from all other client matters of the firm and were not commingled with any of the firm’s other clients’ information or documents.
They said the agents were directed to the sequestered area with the mayor’s documents and the firm complied with the subpoena.
“There was no ‘raid’ of the firm as reported in the media and the agents did not conduct a search of the firm. The agents also did not seek or obtain any attorney-client privileged communications with the Mayor, or any other information or documents from the firm or its clients. The agents were polite and courteous and the process was conducted in an expeditious and professional manner,” They said in their statement.
It’s still unusual for law enforcement to show up at an attorney’s office to get client records. Is it normal law-business practice to provide clients with a “sequestered” area in which to store records that have nothing to do with attorney-client privilege? Or was Pugh hoping to stash some damaging evidence where she thought the feds wouldn’t know to look? Along those lines, the WJZ report features a brief interview with city solicitor Andre Davis, who got blindsided by the raid on Pugh’s city offices. He told the media that he got an inventory of what the FBI and IRS seized, but that releasing that information would be “premature.” Perhaps, but it’s all highly curious.
Maryland governor Larry Hogan has seen enough. While the raids were in progress, Hogan demanded Pugh’s resignation, joining others on Baltimore’s city council:
Now more than ever, Baltimore City needs strong and responsible leadership. Mayor Pugh has lost the public trust. She is clearly not fit to lead. For the good of the city, Mayor Pugh must resign.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) April 25, 2019
Will she step down? We’ll know as soon as anyone can find Pugh to ask her.