In Baltimore, Mosby's excuses over fraud indictment sound thin at best

(AP Photo/Steve Ruark, File)

As we learned recently, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been indicted on multiple charges of perjury and fraud after years of investigations into some of her rather suspicious behavior. She quickly denied the charges without being very specific about anything, insisting that she and her husband, City Council President Nick Mosby, were pure as the driven snow. But reporters have a way of continuing to ask pesky questions as the Baltimore Sun has done this week. Finally, her attorney’s office responded by saying that the charges are bogus because the COVID relief she received under the CARES Act was totally appropriate and she was qualified for it. We shall see.

“I’m telling you she’s not only innocent, but we have professionals who she consulted with. She qualified under the statute,” Mosby’s attorney, A. Scott Bolden, said at a news conference Monday.

Mosby, 41, is charged with falsely claiming she suffered financial hardship during the pandemic to obtain an early withdrawal from her retirement savings without facing any penalties.

The CARES Act allowed individuals to make early withdrawals without penalties if they experienced financial hardships during the pandemic as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, or laid off; having fewer work hours; being unable to work due to lack of child care; or the closing or reduction of hours of a business she owned or operated.

As has already been pointed out both here and in local Baltimore media outlets, neither Mosby nor her husband ever missed a single paycheck from their very generous government salaries over the course of the pandemic. Claiming that she had “experienced financial hardships” as a result of the pandemic is a ridiculous and insulting claim, particularly when you compare her rather lavish situation (with two new vacation homes in Florida) to the many residents of Baltimore who were out of work for more than a year and struggling to keep food on the table.

But Mosby’s attorney had an answer for that retort as well. He insisted he wasn’t talking about the pandemic’s impact on Mosby’s job as State Prosecutor. She meant that the pandemic had impacted the three small businesses she started in 2020. However, Mosby must think that we all have very short memories if she thinks that story is just going to satisfy everyone.

I’ve been covering her career here ever since the Freddie Gray riots and my memory isn’t that far gone yet. As recently as August of 2020, when Mosby was already in trouble over not paying her taxes, she avowed that those three companies existed “in name only,” doing no business and having no employees. She also told reporters that she had no intention of actively engaging with those businesses while still in office and was simply establishing them to do work to “help underserved communities” after returning to the private sector.

Reporters asked her attorney about that and he said, “These were businesses that were starting. As a result, that does not disqualify her from, along with some other facts that we have to present, that certainly absolve her of any wrongdoing.”

That mangled response doesn’t do anything to address the question that was asked. If the businesses exist in name only and have no employees and Mosby doesn’t do anything for or with those businesses personally, who was impacted by the pandemic in terms of the nonexistent businesses? All of these things can’t be true simultaneously. It sounds to me like somebody is fibbing and the prosecutors may not want to hear any stories such as those. The trap may finally be closing on Marilyn Mosby, and it appears to be one of her own making.