Marilyn and Nick Mosby
Judge lets Marilyn Mosby’s legal team quit, likely leading to a third trial delay
Declaring Baltimore’s former top prosecutor “indigent,” Judge Griggsby appoints a federal public defender to represent her.
Above: Marilyn Mosby and her attorney, A. Scott Bolden, leave the U.S. District Court in Baltimore after a pre-trial hearing in September. (Fern Shen)
Already twice delayed, the trial of Marilyn Mosby is about to be delayed another time.
Details on just how lengthy this delay will be won’t be available until after, well, another delay.
An extra week is now needed, the parties agreed today, to talk over the schedule implications of the latest twist in the case.
U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby granted all six of Mosby lawyers – her entire defense team – permission to withdraw from the mortgage fraud and perjury case brought by a federal grand jury last January.
For now, the trial of Baltimore’s former top prosecutor is still scheduled for March 27. (The case had been initially set for last May, then it was to be in September.)
At today’s virtual hearing, Griggsby concluded that the defense had shown that there was a possibility of a conflict of interest – and distraction for all of the lawyers representing her – given the pending contempt-of-court charges that lead attorney A. Scott Bolden faces for, among other things, a profanity-laced tirade on the courthouse steps in September.
Mosby told Griggsby she no longer wishes to be represented by the lawyers from Reed Smith, including Bolden, Rizwan Qureshi, Kelley Miller and Anthony Todd.
“I feel like their interests are clearly now adverse to my interests, and I need conflict-free counsel,” Mosby said.
“I want to rebuild my life, but I do recognize any new counsel would have to get up to speed on this case” – Marilyn Mosby.
Pro-bono lawyers Gary Proctor and Lucius Outlaw, who said they were brought on in an advisory capacity, were also excused, saying they would suffer a financial hardship if compelled to take over Mosby’s case.
Mosby, who last year declared her desire for a speedy trial, was asked about the virtual certainty that the change in legal team would drag her case out further.
She said she was okay with it.
“I want to rebuild my life, but I do understand and recognize any new counsel would have to get up to speed on this case,” Mosby told the judge.
Meanwhile the prosecutors, who opposed the legal team’s efforts to quit, reacted to the likely delay with exasperation.
“This will obviously destabilize everything,” said assistant U.S. attorney Leo J. Wise.
“To go from what was an astonishingly large defense team down to zero, we don’t see how it doesn’t necessitate pushing out all the dates, further delaying the trial,” he said.
“This will obviously destabilize everything” -Prosecutor Leo J. Wise.
Wise continued to maintain, as he has in court filings, that Bolden’s looming contempt-of-court charges do not implicate the other Reed Smith lawyers.
“The remarks on the courthouse steps were made by him alone. . . They are related to his own behavior,” Wise said. “These are not overlapping matters.”
He was scornful of Outlaw’s claim that representing Mosby would jeopardize his job as a Howard University law professor.
“Respectfully, I do not believe that if Mr. Outlaw had to miss a class or two he would be fired,” Wise said, prompting a protest from Outlaw that his professorial duties are extensive.
Declaring that Mosby, who served two terms as Baltimore state’s attorney and earned nearly $250,000 a year, is “indigent,” Griggsby declined to disclose the material she reviewed that led her to that conclusion.
Court guidelines direct judges to consider a number of factors, including personal and family expenses, legal bills and “asset encumbrance.”
Mosby has sold one of the houses she bought in Florida, the eight bedroom, six bathroom vacation property near Orlando.
She still owns the condominium near Sarasota that she purchased for $476,000 in 2020.
Griggsby directed Wise and Federal Public Defender James Wyda to confer about the next steps in the case.
A February 3 hearing was scheduled to discuss the future trial schedule.