Former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby was found guilty of one count of mortgage fraud today, but acquitted on another.
Together with her felony conviction on two counts of perjury in November, today’s verdict by a federal jury in Greenbelt is a huge setback for the once high-flying 44-year-old.
In addition to being found guilty of three felony counts, she faces efforts by the Maryland Bar Counsel to suspend her law license and the confiscation of her Longboat Key property.
The split decision was a partial victory for federal prosecutors, who had charged Mosby with seven false statements in connection with documents she signed to buy two Florida vacation properties, one in Longboat Key and the other at Kissimmee.
Today’s verdict means the jury decided that Mosby had lied on mortgage application forms to buy the Longboat Key condominium.
• The Brew first wrote about the Longboat Key house in 2021: Marilyn Mosby purchased a $476,000 Florida condominium last month.
As part of the application, she wrote a letter claiming that her husband, City Council President Nick Mosby, had agreed to “gift” her $5,000 at closing toward the purchase.
According to evidence presented at trial, Mosby made this statement in order to secure a lower interest rate. Prosecutors said Mosby did not receive a $5,000 gift from her husband, but rather transferred $5,000 of her money to him, and he then transferred the $5,000 back to her.
Much of the eight-day trial centered on other allegations, including Mosby’s failure to disclose a $69,000 federal tax debt and a $45,000 IRS lien on the mortgage applications for both properties.
At times appearing overcome, Nick Mosby testified that he concealed the tax delinquency from his wife “to protect her” amid a stressful career.
Despite her husband’s years of chronic money troubles and admitted lies – which were exposed in detail during trial testimony – Mosby said she was unaware of the debts and signed the documents in good faith.
“He told me he was taking care of it,” she testified, asserting at another point she “had no intention to commit any sort of perjurious act.”
As she did for Monday’s closing arguments, Mosby came to court today with her two daughters in tow.
Upon hearing the verdict read, she reportedly sobbed.
Leaving the courtroom, she was met by the supporters, who have been arriving for the trial this week in a yellow school bus.
They formed a prayer circle and, as Mosby left the building arm-in-arm with her daughters, chanted, “We love Marilyn.”
The verdict came after about seven hours of deliberations today by a jury that was majority female and African-American.
Mosby faces a potential maximum of 30 years in federal prison for the latest conviction, although this charge alone would not likely bring anywhere near that long of a sentence.
But it is unclear what penalty she may face given that she still awaits sentencing for the November perjury convictions. U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby said she would take up the question of sentencing at a later time.
“We humbly respect the court’s considered rulings, opposing counsels’ zealous advocacy, and the wisdom of both jury verdicts in this case and we remain focused on our mission to uphold the rule of law,” U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron said, in a statement released after the verdict.
Fall from Grace
Mosby and her legal team made no comment after the verdict was read, including on any plans to appeal. (She said during testimony she plans to appeal the two perjury convictions.)
But today’s conviction, which exposed marital troubles and her family’s financial disarray, represent a precipitous blow to the former two-term Baltimore prosecutor.
After she brought charges against Baltimore Police officers in connection with the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, she found herself in the national spotlight, posing for a photo in Vogue and later standing on stage with Prince.
During the past week she has been vigorously fighting federal charges in a suburban Maryland courthouse and acknowledging marital fighting over money woes.
“Fix this or I’m leaving,” her lawyers said she told her husband.
During the trial, her attorneys portrayed her as a naive, first-time homebuyer who trusted others – her mortgage broker, her Florida realtor and her now ex-husband.
Prosecutors warned the jury not to believe her, saying the case “is about lies and responsibility.”
Mosby was “an educated lawyer” who knew she was lying, argued Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky, who presented the jury with reams of financial documents, including the revenue Mosby earned from the Kissimmee property, an eight-bedroom house with a pool that a management company handled.
“She tracked her rentals down to the last cent,” Zelinsky said.
He questioned why she would have trusted that her husband was “up to date” on an IRS installment plan when she knew he was chronically delinquent on paying bills, had his wages garnished for unpaid school loans and had his car was twice repossessed in front of their Reservoir Hill home.
“If you learned your husband was lying to you about taxes for 10 years” and had “some of the worst credit history in America,” Zelinsky asked, why “would you believe he magically got a $50,000 loan” without asking for proof?
Several of the arguments that prosecutors sought to make were fought by the defense and restricted by Judge Griggsby after lengthy negotiations and numerous pre-trial rulings.
For instance, prosecutors were limited in how they could question Mosby about a letter she drafted with an attorney while she was under investigation by Maryland Bar Counsel.
She forwarded to the attorney a number of documents that documented in detail the couple’s tax liabilities and failure to keep up with payments to the IRS on an installment plan.
But prosecutors were not permitted to ask her whether she opened the attachments, even though she had obtained them from her husband and was cc’d on them when they were submitted.
Defense: “We trust too long”
Mosby’s lawyers implored the jury to see the omissions on her mortgage applications not as a result of deception, but of “love in the Mosby marriage.”
“We don’t give up easily on people we love,” Assistant Federal Public Defender Maggie Grace said in the defense’s final argument yesterday. “We hold on too long. We trust too long.”
Grace described Nick Mosby’s lying to his wife about the tax situation as his overcompensation for their shifting power dynamic.
“He took a backseat” and was “wounded” when she began to get local and national attention, Grace said.
Concealing the tax debt while his wife was under scrutiny and pressure – “doubling down” on his assurances the taxes were under control – was a way “to have purpose when she was the one with the big job.”
Grace cast Nick Mosby’s embarrassing admissions about the financial mess he’d made as proof he was telling the truth. She explained Marilyn Mosby’s testimony the same way, noting that both of them “wept” on the stand.
“She has allowed the messiness of her life to be put on full display in the courtroom,” Grace said. “Why? Because it matters. Because it is the truth.”