While the gaze of the media has moved on from Baltimore’s unrest – at least to some degree – in recent weeks, the drama surrounding their State’s Attorney is still drawing plenty of scrutiny. Following the release of the laundry list of charges Marilyn Mosby brought against half a dozen officers involved in the Freddie Gray case, defense attorneys requested that she recuse herself from the case due to conflict of interest concerns. Having had a bit of time to consider the petition, the new liberal superstar’s office responded with an official document which was rather unusual in its tone.
Baltimore’s top prosecutor has filed a blistering response to conflict of interest allegations raised by lawyers for six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray…
Mosby’s response, made available on Tuesday, describes the officers’ motion as bouncing “from one ridiculous allegation to another, like a pinball on a machine far past ‘TILT.”
“Whether born of desperation, the desire for publicity, or a gross effort to taint the grand jury and potential petit jury pool, the motion is absurd,” writes Mosby’s chief deputy, Michael Schatzow…
Schatzow also rejected the claim of a conflict posed by Mosby’s interactions with Billy Murphy, the lawyer representing the Gray family. Murphy donated $4,000 to Mosby’s campaign, but the Fraternal Order of Police gave nearly that much – $3,250 – so the idea that Murphy’s slightly larger contribution made Mosby indebted to him is laughable, her deputy wrote.
A “pinball machine” reference? Absurd? Laughable? Is this a response to a court document from one of the highest law enforcement officers in the state or a lost copy of Miley Cyrus responding to a bad review on Buzzfeed? When the defense presents an objection, no matter how “controversial” the case, one would expect that they would receive an official response which addresses the points raised and does so in a professional manner. This sounds more like a temper tantrum from a toddler who has been asked to put away one of her toys.
The charges against the officers are looking harder and harder to defend to begin with, fueling speculation that the young State’s Attorney was reaching well past her grasp on this one for whatever reason. In fact, one of the chief points she raised in justifying the charges was that the initial detention of Freddie Gray was illegal in the first place since his knife was legal. That claim has been roundly challenged by the cops, but a demand to produce the knife had gone unanswered the last time we heard from her department.
But even that part of her story is changing. Apparently the knife is no big deal anymore.
Mosby said the knife was legal, and could not have justified Gray’s arrest, since an officer wrote that he discovered it only after Gray had been detained.
“Gray was handcuffed at his surrendering location, moved a few feet away, and placed in a prone position with his arms handcuffed behind his back, all before the arresting officers found the knife,” the prosecutors’ motion reads.
Whether the knife was seen prior to the suspect being detained and initially questioned is irrelevant as far as I know. If it was found during the initial search it still immediately became fair game for a charge. The fact that Mosby is trying to play it down at this point seems telling. Perhaps even more so is her asking the judge for a gag order so all of these pesky people will stop talking about how she’s handling the case. (That’s not going over very well so far.)
You could excuse a new, inexperienced State’s Attorney for making a few mistakes in such a high profile case, but you would also expect them to make corrections and recover gracefully. This is just looking worse and worse for Mosby, who gives constant signals that this case is now far less about Freddie Gray than it is about her career.