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Baltimore’s top prosecutor Mosby held in contempt for violating gag order in murder case

Marilyn J. Mosby was sworn in on January 8, 2015, as the 25th State’s Attorney for Baltimore City. Her husband is Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby. (photo courtesy SAO)
Marilyn J. Mosby was sworn in on January 8, 2015, as the 25th State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.

Baltimore City’s State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was found in contempt of court on Friday for violating a gag order in the most recent Keith Davis Jr. criminal case. Mosby was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine which can be waived if she doesn’t speak publicly about the case for at least 90 days. Mosby looked stunned after Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge John Nugent handed down his ruling in court on Friday morning.

“I’m trying, by issuing the gag order, to ensure there is a fair trial for everyone,” Nugent said.

Davis Jr. is facing a fifth murder trial in the 2015 death of Pimlico Race Course security guard Kevin Jones. Mosby can’t publicly address the case, but outside the courthouse, the defendant’s wife Kelly Davis, said she is grateful that her husband continues to be vindicated.

“For the last seven years, Marilyn Mosby has willfully denied him a presumption of innocence and has absolutely gone out of her way to label things that he is not, judicially, legally, and we are just happy that today, the judge has kind of cloaked Keith with a presumption of innocence,” Davis said.

Mosby requested the original gag order that went into effect on June 7. Later that day, she appeared on WYPR’s Midday, where she mentioned the gag order when asked about the case from host Tom Hall.

“I can just tell you, in that particular case, I’m concerned about the victim. And I’m going to fight for them the same way I fight for every victim in the city of Baltimore,” Mosby said on Midday.

In early July, Mosby responded to an Instagram post about the trial warning the public that they “shouldn’t believe everything you read.”

Both exchanges happened before the July 19 primary election. Mosby ran for re-election as a Democrat but lost to Ivan Bates. Mosby’s attorney argued in court that the Instagram comment was in reference to the election, not the murder case.

Deborah Katz Levi, who represents Davis Jr., argued that Mosby’s violation of the gag order should prompt the court to drop the entire case. Potential jurors should be asked if they had seen or heard about Mosby’s public comments, the attorney argued.

She also suggested that Mosby should pay a $10,000 fine for her comments and issue a public apology “on the steps of the courthouse with the press surrounding.”

Bethany Raja is WYPR's City Hall Reporter
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