In an otherwise innocuous email in March, a top staffer for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby asked police to target a particular West Baltimore intersection.
Three weeks later, at that same intersection (North Avenue and Mount St.) was the scene of Freddie Gray’s pursuit, and defense attorneys for six officers facing charges in Gray’s death say the email is grounds to take Mosby off the case, The Baltimore Sun reports.
“State’s Attorney Mosby asked me to look into community concerns regarding drug dealing in the area of North Ave and Mount St,” Joshua Rosenblatt, division chief of Mosby’s Crime Strategies Unit, wrote in the email to Western District commander Major Osborne Robinson.
The email was first released in a defense motion filed in circuit court on Tuesday.
“Mrs. Mosby herself is now an integral part of the story and as such is a central witness. In the charges relating to the initial arrest and/or detention of Mr. Gray, Mrs. Mosby herself has become essential exculpatory evidence,” attorneys argued in the motion. “This is a case where the witness and the prosecutor are one and the same.”
The email was forwarded to three Western District officers, including Lt. Brian Rice, one of the arresting officers now charged in Gray’s death.
“I realize that resources are thin for a long-term investigation, but hopefully we can combine community involvement with [prosecutors’ and police] cooperation to make something happen,” Rosenblatt wrote.
Gray was pursued and arrested April 12 after making eye contact with officers and fleeing. He sustained what later proved fatal injuries while in police custody and died a week later.
Attorneys for the six officers, who face charges including second-degree assault, involuntary manslaughter and (for one) second-degree murder, have long sought to get Mosby taken off the case. Among other things, they have cited a conflict of interest with husband, Councilman Nick Mosby. Mosby, who represents the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood where Gray lived, has long been a vocal figure on the case.
The May court papers, as reported by The Washington Post, also cited Mosby’s relationship with Gray family attorney Billy Murphy and a deputy’s relationship with a WBAL-TV reporter. The Baltimore Sun later confirmed lead prosecutor Janice Bledsoe is in a relationship with WBAL lead investigative reporter Jayne Miller, who has since recused herself from reporting on the case.
In a state filing, Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow dismissed the suggestion that Nick Mosby’s position represented a conflict of interest and that the “notion that Mrs. Mosby would bring baseless criminal charges with the entire nation watching just so that Mr. Murphy might have some advantage in the civil case is ludicrous.”
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