Testimony in Marilyn Mosby’s mortgage fraud case wrapped up today as prosecutors took their last opportunity to challenge the defendant on her central narrative:
That she relied on others when she failed to disclose on mortgage application forms, under penalty of perjury, the $69,000 federal tax debt that she and her husband shared.
“You testified that in July 2020 you knew you owed the IRS money,” asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky.
“I knew we had tax liability, yes,” Mosby answered.
“Did anyone tell you that tax debt did not need to be included on this form?” he continued, referring to the mortgage documents Mosby acknowledged she had read.
Repeatedly, the former Baltimore state’s attorney refused to answer “yes” or “no” to the question, saying that her mortgage company filled it out using her credit report.
“Again, sir, I did not populate this form,” Mosby replied. “My Easy Mortgage populated this form.”
After many back and forths and sidebars – plus a suggestion from U.S. Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby that she “may wish to answer yes or no” – Mosby finally gave a simple answer.
“No,” she said, meaning no one had told her it was acceptable to omit the information on forms she used to buy two Florida vacation properties.
The exchange was one of many that flared on the trial’s final day of testimony.
Mosby sighed frequently on the witness stand and sometimes concluded her replies with a clipped, lawyerly put-down:
“Asked and answered.”
Coming to a Close
Tension was palpable in the courtroom today as Mosby, 44, tried to fend off a second set of felony convictions related to her purchase of two houses – one in Kissimmee near Disney World and the other on the Gulf of Mexico.
In November, a jury found Mosby guilty of two counts of perjury, determining that she lied about experiencing financial problems related to Covid-19 in order to obtain the money she needed for down payments on the properties.
In this second trial, which commenced on January 22, Mosby is charged with two counts of mortgage fraud, each carrying a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
Presiding over both sets of charges, Griggsby has said sentencing in both cases will take place after a verdict comes in the current mortgage fraud case.
Whatever the jury decides, it will be a major milestone in a case that has been widely publicized since it was brought against the high-profile prosecutor in January 2022, marked by charges of unfair targeting and racism amid multiple legal maneuvers and a string of delays.
The Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office accuses Mosby of making seven false statements that influenced her mortgage lenders and saved her money on the houses.
The jury must be persuaded of only one lie per mortgage to secure a conviction on each of the two counts.
Prosecutors introduced voluminous information about the couple’s finances, including from an IRS analyst who estimated the couple had received some 40 mailings about their tax lien.
But the trial’s early drama centered on the testimony of Mosby’s ex-husband, City Council President Nick Mosby.
He asserted it was he – and he alone – who was responsible for tens of thousands of dollars of tax debt and that he’d lied about it to protect her from “being stressed out.”
At first, there was little hint at how personally humiliating his testimony would become.
Grilled by prosecutors, Mosby acknowledged having his car repossessed twice and his wages garnished for years due to college loan delinquency. The mortgage on the couple’s Bolton Street house, which he was in charge of paying, was also chronically behind.
Prosecutors asked Griggsby to let them question Mosby about his claim of $36,000 in charitable contributions on federal taxes during a time when he could not possibly have made them given the limited funds in his bank account.
Griggsby didn’t allow them to bring up the issue. But for Mosby, whose current salary as the city’s second highest elected official is $135,000, the damage was done.
Shocked and Assured
Marilyn Mosby’s testimony was striking as well.
She described herself as so shocked and angry upon learning of the couple’s tax debt that she “went off” and threatened to leave her husband.
But she also insisted many times that she believed her husband’s assurances that he “had taken care of it.”
“I thought it was accurate. I thought it was complete,” Mosby said, referring to a mortgage form she signed, explaining further:
”It does not mean that I did anything intentional when signing off. Or commit any sort of perjurious act.”
The trial will resume on Monday, with the defense and prosecution saying they are prepared to make closing arguments.
After that, Mosby’s fate will be in the hands of the jury.