A former city prosecutor claims she was fired by Marilyn Mosby for political reasons.
Keri Borzilleri, who was at the State’s Attorney’s office for nine years, was among a group of prosecutors fired after Mosby took office in January. In a lawsuit filed in federal court, Borzilleri writes that she was fired because she supported former State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein in the 2014 Democratic primary. The suit states that Borzilleri hosted a campaign event for Bernstein, and that her support for Bernstein was “easily discoverable” on Facebook.
The suit argues that Mosby violated Borzilleri’s First Amendment rights by firing her for support of Bernstein — which amounts to political speech.
Along with the six prosecutors fired when Mosby took office, the suit states another 30 left after seeing colleagues fired. Former Operations Research Analyst Cristie Cole also questioned whether she was fired due to her support for Bernstein in January.
In announcing her new leadership team in January, Mosby said, “With any new administration there’s change— and change can be hard.” In a statement issued Wednesday to the Baltimore Sun, the State’s Attorney’s office said officials had not seen the lawsuit, but “refuse to be distracted by disgruntled employees or frivolous lawsuits.”
According to the suit, Borzilleri was hired in 2005 by-then State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy, and worked as a “Community Prosecutor,” which involved serving as a liaison between police and the community in addition to prosecuting crimes. Mosby was hired around the same time, and, like Borzilleri, was initially a clerk. But Mosby went on to become a civil litigator at Liberty Mutual Insurance, while Borzilleri remained at the State’s Attorney’s office, the suit states.
Borzilleri had an “exemplary record” and tried “hundreds of cases,” the suit states. She now works as a prosecutor in Prince George’s County.
The lawsuit comes as Mosby’s office is prosecuting the first of six trials of Baltimore police officers for their involvement in the death of Freddie Gray.
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