The story coming to us out of Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray just gets stranger and stranger. Once State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby had brought a gaggle of charges against the six police officers involved in the incident, the defense immediately moved to have her removed from the case over possible conflict of interest issues. Since that time, Mosby’s office seems to have gone into a circle the wagons mentality and has been pushing back against both the police and the media. That pattern took an even more curious turn this week when the autopsy of Freddie Gray was concluded and Mosby immediately sought to keep it under wraps.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby plans to seek a protective order blocking the release of Freddie Gray’s autopsy and other “sensitive” documents as she prosecutes the six police officers involved in his arrest.
Mosby discussed that intention in a court filing Monday, in which she also asked the court for more time to respond to defense motions that she and her office be removed from the case and that the case be tried outside of Baltimore.
The move is the latest effort by Mosby’s office to restrict information in the high-profile case. Her office has also sought a gag order, which would prevent those involved in the case from discussing it in public, and broken with tradition by not providing the autopsy report to Baltimore Police.
Mosby’s claims that she doesn’t want to be “baited into litigating this case through the media” makes less sense than anything we’ve heard thus far. This is the same State’s Attorney who was calling something in the range of four to five press conferences a day while their investigation was ongoing and giving CNN painstaking graphics and timelines of each and every movement of the van that Gray was in, along with details about each of the officers that barely stopped short of providing hair and urine samples. Now, if the evidence against the officers is as strong as she claims and her case is a bullet proof one, then surely the autopsy report would support everything she’s been saying, no? And if so, such exoneration would surely calm some of the media and police department clamor against her. So why the sudden hush hush treatment and gag orders?
One of the lawyers for the accused cops suspects he knows the answer.
One of the defense attorneys, Ivan Bates, said in an interview that the effort to get a protective order is a sign that “there is something in that autopsy report that they are trying to hide.”
“Mrs. Mosby is the one who did an announcement discussing what she said the evidence was in a nationally televised speech, and now that it is time to turn over the evidence, to ask for a protective order is beyond disingenuous,” said Bates, who represents Sgt. Alicia White. “It’s as if she wants to do everything to make sure our clients do not get a fair trial.”
As I mentioned on Twitter when this story first broke, Mosby is looking more and more like a poker player who’s sitting on a pair of threes and facing an opponent who just went all in on her. Unfortunately, she may be too heavily invested in the pot to fold at this point. Right from the beginning there have been many observers besides me who were getting the impression that Mosby is a very ambitious politician with a desire to move up the ladder fast and who was suddenly handed a career making case before she’d even unpacked her things at her new office. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever. But if you fumble a big case like this it can be a long, hard fall.
From what I can see, there’s no reason to suspect that there’s any sort of conspiracy or malevolence going on at the office of the State’s Attorney. Assuming that Mosby harbors some sort of anti-cop bias without hard proof of it is unfair. But at a minimum we may be seeing a lack of experience leading to some very poor decision making under a great deal of scrutiny and national media pressure.