Defense attorneys representing six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray filed a motion Friday to have the case dismissed, or for the city’s top prosecutor to be recused from the case and replaced by a special prosecutor, citing alleged conflict of interest.
The attorneys argue in the documents that the officers were victims of an ‘overzealous prosecution’ by State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who they claim has personal and political motivations in the case.
Among the alleged conflicts of interest cited, the motion includes Mosby’s marriage to the city councilman who represents the district where Gray died.
The motion claims that Mike Mosby had a professional and personal interest in having riots in his district that erupted after Gray’s death come to an end, and that Marilyn Mosby therefore had an interest in filing charges quickly.
“…His wife, Marilyn Mosby, had a professional and personal interest in accommodating the needs of her husband – his political future directly affects her personal, professional and political interests,” the motion argues.
Defense attorneys contend that Mosby’s relationship with the Gray family attorney also creates a conflict of interest. The attorney, William Murphy, is a close friend, ally and lawyer for Mosby.
The filing also cites a pending motion against her office, her office’s role in investigating the case and Mosby’s personal relationships with potential witnesses as reasons she should be recused from the case.
The defense also argues that Mosby denied the officers their right to due process by using inciting rhetoric when announcing the charges last week. Mosby told protesters: “I heard your call for ‘no justice no peace.’ Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man…You’re at the forefront of this cause and as young people, our time is now.”
The motion claims her words betrayed her personal and political motivations and were another sign of a conflict of interest.
“Rarely in the history of any criminal case has a prosecutor so directly maintained so many conflicts of interest. Rarer still are instances where such clear conflicts exist and a prosecutor steadfastly refuses to recuse him or herself,” the motion says.
The court filings come as Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the Department of Justice intends to launch a civil rights investigation into the practices of the Baltimore Police Department, particularly allegations of excessive force and widespread discrimination.
The civil rights investigation, similar to ones undertaken in cities including Ferguson, Missouri, and Cleveland, will examine the policing patterns and practices of the entire police department. It is far broader in scope than a separate Justice Department investigation that aims to determine whether Gray’s civil rights were violated.
Baltimore suffered days of unrest after Gray died April 19 following a week in a coma after his arrest. Protesters threw bottles and bricks at police the night of his funeral on April 27, injuring nearly 100 officers. More than 200 people were arrested as cars and businesses burned.