NAACP calls on Biden to pardon Marilyn Mosby, who they say was Trump victim

The NAACP on Tuesday led a group of civil rights organizations in calling for President Biden to pardon Marilyn Mosby, a former state’s attorney for Baltimore.

Mosby was convicted in February on a federal charge of making a false mortgage application in order to secure a lower interest rate. The conviction followed a November 2023 conviction on two counts of perjury relating to the withdrawal of funds from the City of Baltimore’s Deferred Compensation Plan. She faces up to 40 years in prison.

In a letter to Biden, the NAACP and 14 other groups argued Mosby was unfairly targeted and convicted “after enduring the political persecution and malicious prosecution of the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ).”

“We are deeply concerned that the last administration abused their power to advance a meritless indictment against Ms. Mosby and worse, the current administration’s U.S. Department of Justice ignored a clear political motive of the malicious prosecution against Ms. Mosby,” the letter states.

The groups allege that it was Mosby’s commitment to accountability and racial equity that drew the ire of federal officials, including former President Trump.

In February 2020, former Attorney General William Barr criticized prosecutors, including Mosby, in a speech before law enforcement.

Following the murder of George Floyd by police, Mosby appeared frequently on national TV and in newspapers as an authority on police misconduct and police prosecutions. When Trump threatened to deploy federal agents to Baltimore in July 2020, Mosby said she would prosecute any federal agents who engaged in unlawful actions against Baltimore citizens.

That August, the letter said, Mosby learned she was under federal investigation, “a move widely perceived as retaliation for her courageous stance in protecting her constituents’ constitutional rights.”

According to the letter, Mosby was wrongfully convicted in November. Though the DOJ argued she did not require the funds she withdrew from the retirement plan because she retained her full salary, the NAACP and other groups said she did meet an objective standard to qualify for the withdrawal.

Additionally, though 739 people withdrew funds from their retirement accounts without being charged for improper withdrawals, including three within her agency, Mosby was the only person charged. She was then denied due process and the opportunity to testify and present exculpatory evidence, the letter states.

Her February conviction was based on the misrepresentation of a $5,000 “gift” on a mortgage application. The letter to Biden argued that during the trial, expert testimony confirmed Mosby was improperly advised.

The letter concludes that the financial implications fall far below the Department of Justice’s usual million-dollar threshold.

“We expect that political persecutions and malicious prosecutions pursued during the Trump Administration would not continue in the Biden Administration,” the letter states. “Ms. Mosby’s case is not the only one — it is the latest and one of the most egregious cases. This matter should be corrected because it is a miscarriage of justice and an example of the last administration’s misuse of authority.”

The letter was also signed by Black to the Future Action Fund, Black Voters Matter, Black Women’s Roundtable, Color of Change, Fair and Just Prosecution, National Action Network, National Bar Association, National Black Justice Coalition, National Black Law Students Association, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, National Council of Negro Women, National Urban League, Until Freedom and World Without Genocide.

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, said Mosby’s conviction is an example of how Black Americans are targeted by the justice system.

“We’ve watched, decade after decade, as Black Americans have faced wrongful prosecution at the hands of those who seek to promote injustice,” Johnson said in a statement.

“The only thing Marilyn Mosby is guilty of is the desire to provide her family with a better life. The sad reality is, as Black women take their rightful places in positions of power, dark forces seek to tear down both their progress, and that of our community. The NAACP refuses to stand idly by as injustice takes the wheel, driving us down a path of further disparity. We are proud to stand alongside our partners in calling on President Biden and the Department of Justice to reemphasize their commitment to racial equity by pardoning Attorney Mosby. Enough is enough. It’s time to stand with Black women.”

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