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POLITICS

Who is Marilyn Mosby and why is President Biden being petitioned for a pardon?

The idea of someone receiving a presidential pardon for wrongdoing is nothing new, and the latest attempt comes from the state of Maryland.

U.S. President Joe Biden arrives at Boston Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. May 21, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Leah MillisREUTERS

Marilyn Mosby, as the former Baltimore prosecutor who once commanded headlines for her prosecution of police officers in the Freddie Gray case, now finds herself in the spotlight again, but for very different reasons.

What has Marilyn Mosby been convicted of?

Convicted of making false statements on a mortgage application for a Florida condominium purchase, Mosby’s legal woes have mounted, with this latest verdict adding to her previous perjury convictions from earlier this year.

Once hailed as the youngest top prosecutor of any major U.S. city when she was elected Maryland state’s attorney for Baltimore in 2014, Mosby’s career trajectory took a sharp turn when she lost her bid for a third term amid federal charges in January 2022.

In a split verdict delivered on Tuesday, a federal jury acquitted Mosby of one count of falsifying a mortgage application, while finding her guilty of another. The charge stemmed from allegations that she lied on applications to secure loans for two Florida properties, one in Long Boat Key and the other in Kissimmee. The jury’s decision comes on the back of her being convicted of perjury for falsely claiming financial hardship to access funds from her city employee retirement account.

During the trial, evidence revealed that Mosby had misrepresented financial transactions, including falsely claiming to have received a $5,000 gift from her husband to secure a lower mortgage rate. Instead, it was shown that she had transferred the money to her spouse and then back to herself.

What is Mosby’s punishment?

Mosby’s legal troubles carry severe consequences, with each conviction potentially leading to lengthy prison sentences. A single count of making a false mortgage application could result in up to 30 years behind bars, while each perjury count carries a maximum penalty of five years.

Despite the mounting legal challenges, Mosby maintains her innocence, attributing the prosecutions to political motives aimed at derailing her career. She contends that adversaries within the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office orchestrated the charges to sabotage her re-election prospects. And for this reason, she’s hoping that President Biden can step in and save her.

Numerous campaign groups and individual have been encouraging people to sign the ‘organize for’ petition requesting that the sitting president arranges a pardon for Mosby. At the time of writing, and with her sentencing imminent, just over 75,000 of the required 100,000 signatures have been made. The campaign makes its case:

‘Attorney Mosby was RELENTLESS in her commitment to justice, embodying the legacy of generations in law enforcement. During her two terms as State’s Attorney, she established programs to provide nonviolent drug offenders with alternatives to incarceration, refused to prosecute marijuana possession cases, and started one of the country’s only Youth and Prevention departments. Her courageous commitment to justice made her a target of admiration and punishment.’

The question of how this would look to the electorate as the 81-year-old campaigns for another term in the Oval Office, is another matter for serious consideration.

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