Federal Judge decides to move high-profile mortgage fraud case

Former persecutor's mortgage fraud trial relocated over "potential bias" and concerns of local media influence

Federal Judge decides to move high-profile mortgage fraud case

The trial of Marylin Mosby, a former Baltimore prosecutor charged last year with perjury and mortgage fraud, has been relocated outside the city amid rising concerns over potential juror bias due to extensive media coverage.

Mosby previously gained national attention during her tenure as Baltimore state’s attorney for her high-profile decisions, such as charging police officers involved in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray. However, she is now under the spotlight for perjury and mortgage fraud charges.

Last year, Mosby lost in the Democratic primary following allegations by federal prosecutors that she falsely claimed financial difficulties due to the pandemic to prematurely access funds from her retirement account. Mosby then used the money to purchase two vacation homes in Florida, it was alleged.

As the early November trial date approaches, US District Court Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby approved a request from Mosby’s defense to relocate the trial from Baltimore to Greenbelt, a suburb of Washington, DC. This decision stands out, given that even in high-profile cases, defense teams often struggle to obtain such changes in venue.

Prosecutors noted that they couldn’t recall another federal case in Maryland that had been transferred to an alternate courthouse.

Griggsby pointed out that the legal threshold for such relocations isn’t particularly high. Recognizing the extensive local media coverage, she remarked during a Friday hearing in Baltimore federal court, “Some of that pretrial publicity has certainly cast the defendant in a negative light.”

Adding to the case’s complexity, the judge also decided to split the trial into two parts: one addressing the perjury charges and the other focusing on the mortgage fraud allegations. This decision came after Mosby’s attorneys said that she might choose to testify in one trial but not the other.

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