Pugh attorney: Baltimore mayor "not lucid" enough to decide on resignation

Yesterday, thanks to an erroneous report from Baltimore CBS affiliate WJZ, the question was where in the world is Mayor Catherine Pugh? After her location in the city was confirmed later in the afternoon, the question has shifted somewhat to why in the world is Catherine Pugh still mayor. According to her attorney, the “Healthy Holly” author isn’t healthy enough to answer that question yet:

“She is not in a very good place physically and mentally,” Silverman said. “She doesn’t have the energy to focus for an extensive period of time in order to make important decisions, so we just need to get that to place.”

According to Silverman, Pugh’s condition hasn’t improved, and she remains under medical care. Pugh initially took her leave of absence over three weeks ago to heal from pneumonia, but she has since developed bronchitis.

Silverman said he and Pugh discussed whether she should resign to focus on her health.

“I think for people to make material decisions in their life. They have to be at a certain level of stability in order to make those decisions,” he said.

Silverman says that she will make a decision when she is able. He did not reveal when that could happen.

Steve Silverman also claimed that the FBI and IRS found “nothing incriminating” at either of Pugh’s two Baltimore homes. That may be true from Silverman’s perspective, but the Department of Justice might have their own assessment of the seized material. Plus, the FBI and IRS conducted raids on four other locations, including her mayoral offices, her business offices, and Silverman’s law office (which the firm characterized as service of a limited subpoena). No one will know for sure whether investigators found incriminating evidence, but they certainly were looking mighty hard for something at a number of somewheres.

The defense attorney for one of Pugh’s predecessors thinks the feds are looking into something bigger than the “Healthy Holly” book scandal:

“The books might just be a shiny object. My guess is there’s something bigger,” said Arnold W. Weiner, a lawyer who defended a previous mayor, Sheila Dixon, against misconduct charges in office, the outlet reported.

The raid was the first indication that Pugh was being probed by the feds. Experts said the agencies are likely looking for potential tax violations, such as whether she reported her income from the book series.

“When money is involved, there is potential for tax crimes. And they’re easier to prove,” David Jaros, a University of Baltimore Law School professor, told the Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore and Maryland politicos don’t want Pugh hanging around to find out. Republican governor Larry Hogan called on Pugh to resign immediately. Pugh’s Democratic allies in Congress didn’t use the “R” word, but their meaning seems plain enough:

Two Baltimore members of Congress, Reps. Elijah Cummings and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, urged Pugh to act — in Ruppersberger’s words — in the “best interests” of the city, although neither used the word “resign.”

Cummings, a Democrat, urged Pugh “to put the best interests of the City and its residents first and foremost.”

The 13-term representative said Baltimore “needs and deserves leadership that is above reproach and which can lead the City forward in ways that engender the trust and confidence of all essential stakeholders.”

Cummings said that “no one questions Mayor Pugh’s passion for Baltimore City and its citizens. At the same time, the circumstances now require that she also provide an example of accountability for those same people.”

Ruppersberger, a former prosecutor whose district includes portions of the city, said, “The events of this morning indicate that Mayor Pugh can no longer provide the laser-focused leadership the city needs to address its many challenges, including crime, housing and the opioid crisis.”

The statement of Ruppersberger, also a Democrat, said Baltimore “deserves a leader who can focus 100 percent on the city. I believe Mayor Pugh’s love and passion for the city are genuine and I urge her to take the actions that are in its best interests and not hers.”

How lucid does Pugh have to be to understand her career is over?