Baltimore officials release report on prosecutor's travel

Baltimore’s inspector general has found that the city’s top state prosecutor attended two dozen events outside Maryland in 2018 and 2019 without getting approval for more than half the trips

Via AP news wire
Tuesday 09 February 2021 22:02 GMT
Baltimore Prosecutor-Travel
Baltimore Prosecutor-Travel (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The top state prosecutor in Baltimore a prominent figure in the racial justice movement, attended two dozen events outside Maryland in 2018 and 2019 without getting approval for more than half of the trips, according to an inspector general’s report.

The report released Tuesday also found that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was physically absent from her job for 85 days during that time period.

“Those trips took SA Mosby around the United States, and on three different occasions, around the world,” Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming noted in the report.

Mosby rose to national prominence in 2015 when she declared that six police officers would be held accountable for the death of Freddie Gray a Black man who suffered a broken neck while in police custody, triggering riots and protests. None of the officers was ever convicted over Gray's death, but her decision to swiftly charge the officers was admired among many Baltimore residents and she won reelection in 2018.

The international trips included a speech in Kenya in August 2019 about criminal justice reform efforts in Baltimore and visits to Germany and Portugal in May 2019 with other U.S. prosecutors to learn about criminal justice models in Europe.

While noting that almost $23,700 of the $27,015 total cost of the trips was paid by sponsoring organizations, the report found that six of the 24 trips were paid for in full or in part by Mosby’s office or the city.

“The OIG found discrepancies between the travel reported on SA Mosby’s state financial disclosure forms, the travel list she provided to the OIG, and the OIG’s independent verification of costs,” officials wrote.

Investigator determined that 15 of the 24 trips were not submitted to the Board of Estimates for required approval.

Cumming noted that it is not within her purview to determine whether Mosby fully complied with Maryland’s public ethics law and disclosure requirements, saying that was a a matter for the Maryland State Ethics Commission.

Mosby asked the city to investigate her office's finances last summer amid questions about her travels abroad and reports that she had formed travel and hospitality companies while in office. Mosby did not mention the companies in her initial 2019 financial disclosure.

The report said Mosby told the OIG that her initial 2019 disclosure was filed by her former chief of staff after Mosby reviewed it, but the former chief of staff told the OIG that she had no knowledge of the companies and that she never heard Mosby mention them.

In her July 2020 letter requesting the investigation, Mosby wrote that she started the business to “help underserved black families who don’t usually have the opportunity to travel outside of urban cities, so they can vacation at various destinations throughout the world at affordable rates.”

“I am confident that I have always abided by the ethical rules and regulations and have been fully transparent about any gifts, travel, or other financial activity,” Mosby added.

OIG investigators reviewed thousands of pages of documents, including emails, work calendars, travel records, bank statements and credit card statements. Officials also reviewed redacted versions of Mosby’s 2019 personal tax return but noted that he refused a request for her 2018 tax return.

Last November, Mosby’s husband, Nick, was elected city council president.

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