There’s nothing great about a grand jury investigation – Maryland Matters

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Baltimore City State Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby (D) and Baltimore City Council Chairman Nick J. Mosby (D-Baltimore City) attend the official 2017 BET Awards in Los Angeles . Photo by Bennett Raglin / Getty Images for BET.

Google is everyone’s rap sheet. Grand juries usually start with a paper trail, and people wearing badges scan sample newspaper clippings or, nowadays, printouts from news sites.

These piles of paper are a form of autobiography. They tell who a person is, what they do, where they have been and, if the proctoscopic analysis is thorough, where the pot of gold is buried.

This inevitably leads to “net worth” – an exercise in addition and subtraction to determine if lifestyle and income are not in sync like they were in, say, in the “Healthy Holly” scam. former Mayor Catherine Pugh, or the haute couture tastes of former Mayor Sheila Dixon.

For prosecutors, IRS and FBI agents surrounding their prey, “Follow the money” is more than a memorable phrase from a movie. It is the target of a probe. Income tax returns are the main building blocks of the net worth exam. Home office and charitable deductions without convincing documentation are pitfalls.

Franc!
Frank A. DeFilippo

Income tax returns reveal the flow of money in and out of pockets and bank accounts. Throw in the scrap paper of life – receipts, vouchers, medical and drug bills, travel and gasoline receipts, canceled checks, and any other minutiae that contributes to the cost of living or living.

In the case of elected officials, campaign fundraising reports are the centerpiece. Notes, journals and schedules are a bonus. The point of research is imbalance.

And soon, subpoenas fly like confetti on New Years Eve. No one outside the DA’s office knows exactly what they’re looking for, and they might not know it either, until what it falls on.

Partners, associates, colleagues and campaign managers are particularly valuable witnesses. The Feds are always looking for someone they can “turn around” and turn evidence against the target (s). As prosecutors say, they like to negotiate, a little fish for a big fish.

Grand jury inquiries increase bladder activity. It is in the nature of grand jury investigations to literally scare people, the innocent as well as the guilty, the brothel pianist as well as the bitches themselves.

And once in the sanctuary of the grand jury room, there are no lawyers, no rules. Just a court reporter, two, maybe three prosecutors who go through the routine of the good cop, the bad cop, and 16-23 of your peers who look like you’d expect them to be. Bored. Bored silly.

(Maryland’s federal grand jurors are chosen from a statewide panel of jurors made up of citizens selected at random from lists of registered voters. The selection process is designed to represent a representative sample of the ‘State.)

A life, a family, a career are in their hands, and for the most part, they prefer to stay at home slumped in front of a TV or play tic-tac-toe on a smartphone.

A prosecutor has rarely lost a case in front of a grand jury. The popular saying is right: a prosecutor can ask a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.

The trick to appearing before a grand jury is to wiggle and twist, slide and slide, work the part and find a friendly face, then play with it. Above all, look sincere, pretend if you have to. Shave the truth, cover it up, let memory do the old dipsy-doodle, but never lie unless you’re sure you’re the only one who knows the answer.

Perjury is the only crime a person can commit before a grand jury. Knowing about a crime is not a crime. Lying about it is.

The last person or persons invited to appear before a grand jury are the target (s) of the investigation. They are usually “invited” to appear and not subpoenaed, always aware that they are wrapped up in the Fifth Amendment. They rarely, if ever, appear on purpose for fear of the perjury trap.

Then meet the fun Baltimore couple, Marilyn and Nick Mosby, wife and husband. Marilyn is the town attorney, real estate baroness, world traveler and the letterhead name of several other businesses. And Nick is the chairman of the city council, a former steward and member of the city council and, to our knowledge, owner of a consulting business.

Together, Marilyn and Nick have a comfortable income. Marilyn earns $ 238,772 as a state attorney and Nick is paid $ 128,583 as chairman of the city council – together that makes $ 367,355. They apparently own a house in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, valuation unknown, which was the subject of an IRS lien of $ 45,000 for three years of unpaid taxes – $ 23,000 in 2014, $ 19,000 in 2015 and $ 3,000 in 2016 – which Nick allocated to operating an early retirement due to family difficulties.

In Marilyn’s name, there is ownership of two homes in Florida purchased for over $ 1 million, largely in the form of loans – one in Kissimmee for $ 545,000 with a loan of $ 490,000, and the another in Longboat Key, for $ 476,000 with a loan of $ 428,000.

Which prompted Mosby attorney A. Scott Bolden of Washington – not Baltimore, mind you – to come up with a new line of defense:

“So what?” A catchy line that he repeated several times in a longer statement as a sort of brash exclamation point.

In a statement, Bolden said: “She [Marilyn] has the legitimate ability to purchase property and invest its money as it sees fit.

In another, Bolden said the Mosbys “frankly aren’t making enough money to have a criminal investigation into them.”

Eh?

Even more baffling, was another of Bolden’s remarks: “My clients are progressive change agents, making them unfair targets of unnecessary scrutiny by federal investigators. Can we infer from this remark that liberals (the old name of agents of progressive change) should not be investigated?

Until now, Marilyn and Nick have been mom, hardly a glance, except for the new / old manifesto of Marilyn on the excuse of low level crimes.

This poses another problem for the defense: When public officials are investigated, there is often a clash between their lawyers and communications advisers. Defense lawyers most often advise their clients not to be seen or heard. Let the lawyers do the talking. The communications team, on the other hand, argues that public officials need to be highly visible, up front and seen by the public as doing their job, projecting an air of casual innocence.

What really pissed off a lot of people was Marilyn’s absenteeism and her trips in the jet set during the time of the company. They caused such a fuss that she personally asked the city’s inspector general for an independent review which she hoped would put an end to the fuss.

Well, the headline here is No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. The IG report only made things worse for Marilyn.

The report showed that Marilyn Mosby had been away from her office for 144 days in 2018 and 2019 – the equivalent of about five months, according to IG calculations.

Worse, according to the findings, Mosby did not get the required city approval for 15 of his trips. Mosby’s travels have taken her on extended visits to Germany, Portugal, Kenya, Scotland, and a dozen states. They also involved around $ 30,000 in refunds as well as a number of gifts she received, which, according to her office, Mosby donated at auction.

And, of course, there’s the tricky issue of the $ 3,250 in campaign funds Mosby used to pay for legal fees. And another bold question mark relates to Nick’s charitable contributions, apparently to his church, which prompted one spirit to notice that he had spent more money at Starbucks.

This is pretty much what we know. Of course, we the people have no subpoena power, the IRS and the FBI at our disposal, all the time we need to build a case and the federal budget to fund it. Only a grand jury does it.

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Footnote: For people brooding over such things, if a position becomes available in the state attorney’s office, a successor is appointed by the judges of the Baltimore City Circuit Court. The latter occurred in the 1970s, when Chief Justice Meyer Cardin of the Supreme Court (reformed and renamed Circuit Court) used his authority to force the appointment of his son, Howard Cardin, brother of the current US Senator Benjamin Cardin, as public prosecutor. Howard Cardin was defeated in the next election. The members of the municipal council fill the vacant position of their president.

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