Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and husband, Baltimore City Council President, Nick Mosby. (Courtesy Photos)
By Sean Yoes
AFRO Senior Reporter
Several leaders in Baltimore’s Black community believe a federal tax investigation accompanied by a simultaneous and seemingly unbalanced media probe of Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and her husband Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby, is part of an orchestrated political takedown of the power couple.
In a scathing letter obtained by the AFRO the attorney for the Mosbys outlines in detail what they assert are the underlying motives behind the federal probe. The letter dated March 23, composed by A. Scott Bolden, an attorney with the international law firm Reed Smith, is addressed to Jeffrey Ragsdale, who is director and chief counsel of the Office of Professional Responsibility for the United States Department of Justice.
The letter to Ragsdale takes specific aim at Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning and Assistant United States Attorney Leo J. Wise, both allegedly holdovers from the Trump administration and calls for their removal from the investigation of the Mosbys.
“Based on…Schenning’s and Wise’s vindictive and ethically-challenged conduct, I reiterate my request that these prosecutors be immediately removed from this investigation and that your office investigate their alleged misconduct,” wrote Bolden, who also sent a letter to Ragsdale on March 19, making the same request.
“But for their genuine animus towards my client, what could have been a routine civil tax examination resulted in a vindictive federal criminal investigation,” Bolden added.
The investigation launched by the DOJ is apparently probing the Mosbys’ federal income tax filings for tax years from January 2014 to the present. On March 10, allegedly at the direction of prosecutors, FBI agents disrupted the Board of Estimates meeting at City Hall that Nick Mosby presides over perhaps to embarrass the couple and alert the media to the pending federal investigation.
“Of course, this is a targeted attack,” said Nicole Mundell, executive director of Out For Justice, an organization made up of individuals directly and indirectly impacted by the criminal justice system, who advocate for reform of that system.
“There is a message being crafted that Black leadership better not step out of line against the status quo, or we will relentlessly attack you even if those attacks are baseless.”
It is a “targeted attack” driven by the “genuine animus” of Schenning and Wise towards the Mosbys rooted partly in one of the most infamous cases of police misconduct witnessed in recent years according to Bolden.
“As previously stated, they (Schenning and Wise) have engaged in a smear campaign to falsely accuse State’s Attorney Mosby and her staff of improperly leaking certain facts regarding the USAO’s (United States Attorney’s Office) prosecution of members of the Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF). The falsity of this alleged leak or tip by a prosecutor in State’s Attorney Mosby’s office was extensively discussed and memorialized in multiple letters between State’s Attorney Mosby and Mr. Schenning,” Bolden added. The attorney also revealed political donations by Wise, which seem to bolster the claim of “ethically challenged conduct.”
“On January 10, 2018, Mr. Wise donated to the campaign of Thiruvendran Vignarajah, one of State’s Attorney Mosby’s challengers during the primary election,” stated Bolden. “Then, six months later, Mr. Wise made his second of only two political contributions on record, but this time in support of the other candidate who was challenging State’s Attorney Mosby during the primary election.” According to campaign finance records observed by the AFRO, Wise donated $100 to Vignarajah’s campaign, as well as another $100 to the campaign of Ivan Bates, the other candidate Bolden alluded to.
“Instead of taking the appropriate step of recusing themselves from the instant investigation…Schenning and Wise continued to engage in professional misconduct by recently revealing facts of the instant grand jury investigation to the media in an effort to harass, degrade, and embarrass my clients.”
The Baltimore Brew has published almost a daily story featuring information apparently leaked from the investigation since it was officially launched last week. On March 22, the Brew revealed the details of the purchase of two homes in Florida by Marilyn Mosby totaling about one million dollars and the story has been posted on various social media platforms. On Facebook’s “Baltimore City Voters” group it sparked hundreds of comments. Rita Crews, a member of the group offered one of the most succinct observations. “Is it against the law to purchase a property with a loan?” she asked. “If that’s the case, a lot of people are in trouble.”
Wyndal Gordon, a prominent defense attorney in Baltimore offered an unambiguous defense of the Mosbys via Facebook.
“Marilyn and Nick Mosby, I support you both and I’m not alone. You have demonstrated well your love for our communities, and you’ve effectively used your voices to speak truth to power, whether it filled a room or cleared it out,” wrote Gordon. “We all know what this is, from Moses to Harriet, we’ve seen it all before and are all too familiar. The higher the level the bigger the devils,” he added. “Understand that there are others who would rather burn the Capitol to the ground and watch a great nation, state, or city collapse than cede progress, power, or control. There’s absolutely nothing new under the sun.”
A leading second-generation Black businessman is calling out others to take a strong public stand in support of the Mosbys.
“Anytime the semblance of Black socio-economic advancement is effectuated through Black leadership, there is an expectation of repercussion. Marilyn and Nick Mosby are not naive to this expectation, yet Mrs. Mosby has not changed her tone, energy, or positions in our collective struggle for empowerment of Black folks in Baltimore since she announced her plans to run for State’s Attorney in 2013,” said Pless Jones, Jr., managing member of CNI, LLC and co-founder of the Equality Equation, an organization focused on mitigating the racial wealth disparity.
“She is as real as it gets,” Jones added.
“I want to thoroughly admonish the leadership of this city that if you do not wholeheartedly stand with the Mosbys in this most important point in our city’s history, you will have failed the Black folks of Baltimore.”