Throughout Marilyn Mosby’s second trial, on two counts of mortgage fraud, her lawyers have saddled her star witness, ex-husband and City Council President Nick Mosby, with a tricky task:
He must convince the jury he lied to her for years about mounting debt and a concealed IRS lien – thereby establishing his wife’s “innocent spouse” defense for signing false mortgage applications – but he also must persuade jurors that he’s now telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Aiming to show that Mosby is lying about lying, federal prosecutors today sought to undermine his credibility by alleging he “repeatedly committed perjury” on federal tax returns.
“Mr. Mosby, for instance, in 2014, claims $21,000 in charitable giving on his tax forms,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky said out of earshot of the jury, while “the evidence in this case shows that in that same year he was 199 days delinquent on his mortgage. That he owes the mortgage company $18,640.
“In addition, his car got repossessed that same year for non-payment of almost $3,000,” said Zelinsky, asking permission to cross-examine Mosby about his claims of generous charitable donations during a period when he was drowning in debt.
Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby said she would not allow Mosby to be cross-examined on this contradiction, saying she was concerned it would create “a mini-trial” and prejudice the jury against Marilyn Mosby.
But she did allow Zelinsky to grill Mosby about his massive money troubles.
Under questioning, Mosby acknowledged all of the government’s assertions, including that, from 2014 to 2018, his salary was regularly garnished to pay off his student loans. It was a time, he said, when he was running for mayor, “so I stopped working.”
“Obviously, I get significantly far behind my bills. Ashamed of it, don’t tell my wife about it,” he testified. “I just tried to figure out different ways.”
Zelinsky went on to question Mosby about his next move during this period, giving the public a tantalizing glimpse of Monumental Squared LLC, a company that predated his wife’s LLC, Mahogany Elite Enterprises, which figured so prominently in her November trial and conviction on perjury charges.
Dial 410 779-XXXX
Mosby said he established “a small consulting company” in January 2017, shortly after he returned to elective politics after vacating his City Council post following an unsuccessful 2016 run for mayor.
He had been appointed by the Democratic Central Committee a state delegate for the 40th District – a shuffle that took place after Catherine Pugh vacated her Senate seat to become Baltimore’s next mayor. (Gary Brown Jr., her designated heir, was indicted on campaign finance charges just days before he could assume the delegate post.)
“Obviously, there was a tremendous amount of pressure not just as relates to my household bills, but other family members that I was the breadwinner for and that I’ve provided for and supported. So that led through this entire period in 2017,” Mosby said today.
Back in 2017-18, amid desperate financial straits, Mosby struck a confident tone promoting his new company.
The website said Monumental Squared had not only achieved “a track record of successfully leading people, projects and processes to achieve aggressive milestones” in logistics management, but was an equally acclaimed public affairs advisor – “successfully engaging a multitude of organizations and constituencies.”
The website offered clients free consulting via a unique phone number: “410 779-XXXX.”
Clothing from Nordstrom and Gap
Asked today by Zelinsky if he had formed a bank account for the business and “put personal expenses through it,” Mosby answered, “Yeah.”
“You set up a bank account for it,” the prosecutor continued.
“Business bank account, correct.”
“Did you put tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses through this business bank account?” Zelinsky asked.
“I don’t know the exact amount,” Mosby answered.
“Did you put purchases at Nike Myrtle Beach through your bank account?”
“I’m not sure.”
Zelinsky showed Mosby documents.
“Does that refresh your recollection as to whether you ran thousands of dollars of personal expenses through the Monumental Squared business bank account?”
“I’m not sure where all those expenses were from.”
“Does it refresh your recollection if there were thousands of dollars of clothing purchases, including Michael Kors and Nordstrom Rack and Gap,” Zelinsky persisted, going on to mention also J. Crew, Brooks Brothers and Under Armour.
“I think you’d have to show me that it was over $1,000.”
How Mosby paid for the clothes, and whether his company ever had clients, was not made clear in today’s testimony.
What we do know from state records is that Monumental Squared had a very short life.
How Mosby paid for the clothes – or whether his company ever had clients – was not made clear today.
Within 18 months of its formation, the company was declared “not in good standing” due to its failure to submit a business property return, and on October 11, 2019, it was forfeited by the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
Nevertheless, a year later, the company would pop up in a city ethics form as a “sole proprietor LLC” that was 100% owned and operated by Mosby, who was soon be elected Baltimore’s City Council president.
Lying to a Reporter
Along with the testimony about Mosby’s financial disarray and his LLC’s apparent function as a pass-through for personal clothing purchases, there was other testimony aimed at his truthfulness.
Zelinsky asked Mosby about a news conference he held in front of City Hall on November 23, 2020, his first since winning the general election. (Testimony had previously disclosed that Mosby spent much of the fall of 2020 ensconced in the Kissimmee, Florida, vacation home Marilyn Mosby had purchased that’s at the center of the trial).
• Nick Mosby says he paid his federal tax lien (11/24/20)
At the press conference, The Brew asked Mosby if he had paid off his $45,000 federal tax lien that had been disclosed shortly before the election.
“It’s paid,” he stated.
The full amount?
“Yes. Next question.”
“That was, in fact, a lie, wasn’t it?” Zelinsky asked today.
“Yes, I lied,” Mosby testified.
“Because I didn’t want my wife to find out.”