Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby testifies at ex-wife Marilyn Mosby’s mortgage fraud trial

GREENBELT, Md. — In 2015, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced charges against six city police officers in the death of Freddie Gray from injuries sustained in their custody and was dealing with the barrage of death threats that followed against her and her family.

The decision to charge officers in Gray’s death propelled the young prosecutor to national renown, but it also sparked an exceedingly stressful stretch in her career that caused tension at home, her husband at the time, city politician Nick Mosby, said in court Thursday. He recalled Mosby coming home from work one day.

“This is when we’re not really talking. There’s a lot of arguing. She does something she doesn’t normally do. She started going through the mail,” Nick Mosby testified. “She came across a letter from the IRS. I’m upstairs in the bedroom, again because we’re not really talking, she screams my name and that’s when she found out.”

He was referring to the couple’s federal tax debt.

“I tried to communicate that I had everything covered,” Nick Mosby said. “That it would be fine.”

The couple’s collective tax debt eventually grew to $69,000, and now it’s at the center of federal prosecutors’ mortgage fraud case against Marilyn Mosby.

Years after that seminal moment in Mosby’s career had passed and, according to Nick Mosby, after she thought the tax issues had been resolved, Mosby began looking to acquire real estate. Her attorneys have said she was seeking to secure generational wealth the likes of which her family never had.

Mosby eventually settled on two properties in Florida, which she purchased in 2020 and 2021. She was able to cover the closing costs on those homes by swearing that she suffered financial hardship because of the coronavirus, which enabled her to withdraw $80,000 from her city retirement fund under a provision of a federal pandemic relief package, the CARES Act.

A jury in November found Marilyn Mosby guilty of two counts of perjury, determining she lied about experiencing financial problems related to COVID-19.

Mosby, 44, is standing trial this week on two counts of mortgage fraud.

Prosecutors accuse her of making seven false statements on the mortgage applications for the Florida properties: an eight-bedroom rental near Disney World and a condo on the Gulf Coast. Among other lies, she is charged with failing to disclose the federal tax debt on either application.

Although Mosby’s indictment lists seven false statements between the two applications, prosecutors must convince the jury of only one false statement per loan application. The prosecution, however, also has to prove that Mosby knowingly lied and that her false statements were intended to mislead the financial institutions that issued her mortgages.

Nick Mosby’s testimony comes on the fourth day of Marilyn Mosby’s trial, and after the prosecution spent days laying out evidence supporting its allegations. Prosecutors put on six witnesses, including an Internal Revenue Service officer, an FBI forensic accountant, three mortgage underwriters and a man who operated a vacation rental management company.

The underwriters testified that they relied on Marilyn Mosby’s assertions in the mortgage applications in deciding to approve her loans. They said they needed to know things such as an applicant’s debts and liabilities to be able to calculate whether they could afford the mortgage.

Mosby’s attorneys say she didn’t intentionally lie, and they are relying on Nick Mosby to raise doubts about her knowledge of the tax debt.

He testified he was the only member of the couple who interacted with their tax preparer, that he caused the problems that led to the debts, considered their taxes to be his responsibility and that he was not transparent about their liabilities.

“Sitting here today, do you regret causing the tax problems?” James Wyda, the federal public defender for Maryland and Mosby’s lead attorney, asked him.

“Tremendously,” the council president responded. “Ultimately, it was my mismanagement of the tax situation.”

While his testimony sealed an important part of Mosby’s defense, it provided an unprecedented window behind the scenes of what was once Baltimore’s preeminent political power couple. From the witness box, he told the story of the couple falling for each other in college in Alabama and how their relationship began to unravel as they rose to political prominence.

Nick and Marilyn Mosby’s divorce was finalized in November. Just feet away from his ex-wife, the city council president testified about the personal tumult within their marriage going on behind the public aftermath of the Freddie Gray unrest.

His wife was “in a very vulnerable state” from her controversial charging of the officers who arrested and transported Gray, he said.

It extended to the entire family, he said. They received death threats, people showed up at their home or even when he dropped their daughters off at school. Someone told him, he recalled, that “I would be murdered in front of my house,” but police “wouldn’t respond.”

“As a husband, I did not want to put anything else on her,” he said.

Nick Mosby said he also feared the effect of his “mishandling” of their finances on their already strained marriage. They were arguing and not communicating, he said, and when Marilyn Mosby would come across a letter from the IRS, she would grow livid, he said.

“Because of the state of our marriage, that could be justification to end the marriage,” Nick Mosby testified.

But, he said, he remained hopeful.

“I absolutely loved her, I knew this was a blip in time,” he said. “Maybe we could regain what we had before.”

The airing of such personal matters in the cold setting of a federal courthouse was discomfiting at times. Nick Mosby spoke softly and had to be reminded to speak louder for a jury that was across the courtroom from him. He choked up on occasion, particularly as photos were displayed of the young couple as Tuskegee college students and then at their wedding reception, he in a white suit and she in a gown with a long train.

“She was beautiful, she was exciting,” he testified about the “college sweetheart” he met when he was 19 and she was 18. “From the day I met her I was in love with her.”

When their divorce decree was entered as an exhibit, he was made to read a portion that declared his marriage over.

Marilyn Mosby reached for a tissue a couple of times, and sometimes rested her head in her hands.

The jury, wearing masks by court order, listened as Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky repeatedly objected during Wyda’s questioning of Mosby, prompting private conferencing between the judge and attorneys muffled underneath a white noise machine.

As of 1:30 p.m. Eastern, Nick Mosby was slated to continue answering questions from defense attorneys.

After that, he faces what is expected to be lengthy and pointed cross-examination from prosecutors.


Previous post England get Bazballed as India sieze initiative in first Test
Next post an irresistible all-singing, all-sobbing weepie with sequins