As the race for Baltimore’s top prosecutor widens, with two challengers now declaring their intention to run, incumbent State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is holding a major fundraiser tonight, as a federal criminal investigation that could reshape the race still hangs over her head.
Her campaign committee, Friends of Marilyn Mosby, is sponsoring the reception for her at Baltimore Soundstage. Tickets start at $250 as a “friend” and climb to $2,500 as a “host.”
“Hope all my peeps can make it,” she wrote on Facebook, providing a link for donations.
The funds raised presumably will be used for the state’s attorney’s race for which Mosby has not yet declared her candidacy. The key date, in this overwhelmingly Democratic city, is the June 28, 2022 primary.
Former assistant state’s attorney Roya Hanna, who has criticized Mosby over her partial release of names on a police do-not-call list, has already declared her intention to run.
Attorney Ivan Bates, another former prosecutor who ran unsuccessfully against Mosby in 2018, announced his candidacy in a press release today.
Alleged Perjury Charge
Those likely to attend tonight’s reception:
Fervent supporters of the two-term incumbent as well as developers and contractors dependent, to varying degrees, on Mosby’s husband, Nick Mosby, who presides over the City Council and sits on the contract-awarding Board of Estimates.
This event is separate from “The Mosby 2021 Defense Fund,” an online site that was set up this summer to help the Mosbys offset the legal costs of yet-unfiled federal charges and a potential trial.
Since the federal investigation came to light, Marilyn Mosby has insisted through her defense attorney, A. Scott Bolden, and others that the probe is a personal vendetta, tinged with racial animus, against a progressive Black leader.
Bolden recently told reporters that the federal case now centers on perjury regarding a signature on an unnamed document. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has not made any statement on the probe, whose outcome has been the source of rumors in the legal community for months.
Nick Mosby has refused to publicly speak about the probe, which covers both his campaign and tax records and a private business he established while a state legislator. Federal agents entered City Hall last March, shortly after a Board of Estimates meeting was concluded, to serve Mosby a subpoena.
Legal Fees and Gifts
Campaign committees are prohibited by law from using fundraising events to pay for personal legal costs, including defense costs.
Despite the prohibition, Friends of Marilyn Mosby confirmed a Brew story last February that it paid $3,250 to a local law firm to represent Mosby during an investigation by the Baltimore inspector general into Mosby’s travel, gifts and a private business, Mahogany Elite LLC.
In addition, The Brew reported that Friends paid over $11,000 to a Washington law firm, which sent a threatening letter to a former prosecutor in Mosby’s office who claimed she was unfairly fired.
According to state records, Mosby’s committee has never been reimbursed for these legal costs – and no action has yet been taken by the Maryland State Prosecutor, despite a formal request by its retired chief corruption investigator, James Cabezas, to look into the disbursements.
The online Mosby Defense Fund has no information about who is sponsoring the site and who is handling the donated money.
Legal defense funds for elected officials are permissible under Maryland law.
However, the money contributed may be considered a reportable “gift” to an elected official based on various legal considerations.
Presumably then, at least some of the names of those contributing to Nick Mosby may be disclosed in his annual city disclosure form due in January 2022, and the money raised for Marilyn Mosby may be filed in her state disclosure form due on April 30, 2022.
So far, the Mosbys have not been asked to disclose any information about their legal defense fund to Baltimore’s Ethics Board chaired by Stephan Fogleman.
Contributions raised at tonight’s fundraiser, meanwhile, should be part of the annual flurry of campaign committee filings with the State Board of Elections in January.