The six Baltimore police officers arrested over the death of Freddie Gray asked Friday that charges be dropped or that the city’s top prosecutor step aside because of her “political and personal motivation.”
In a joint motion to the local district court, attorneys for the officers argued that the “inciting rhetoric” State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby used at a May 1 news conference announcing the charges violated constitutional protections against “overzealous prosecution.”
“Rarely in the history of any criminal case has a prosecutor so directly maintained so many conflicts of interests,” the motion declares. “Rarer still are instances where such clear conflicts exists [sic] and a prosecutor steadfastly refuses to him or herself.”
The challenge cited five reasons that Mosby should step aside: the “seizing of political and personal gain” by Mosby and her husband, city Councilman Nick Mosby; “personal relationships” with potential witnesses; the “role of her office as the ‘investigators'”; a pending civil claim against Mosby and her office; and the financial interest of the attorney for the Gray family, who they maintain is Mosby’s “close friend, financial supporter and attorney.”
Mosby could not be immediately reached Friday for comment.
She told CNN earlier this week that there was no conflict of interest and that “I’m going to prosecute.”
Friday’s motion was the second defense maneuver this week.
Monday, an attorney for Officer Edward Nero challenged Mosby’s argument that Gray’s arrest was illegal because a knife he was carrying was not banned under state law. As a result, Mosby charged Nero with second-degree assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
Gray died April 19 from an unexplained spinal injury while in police custody a week after he ran from officers and was arrested because of the knife. Mosby has said Gray was handcuffed and wearing leg restraints when he was placed face-down in the back of a police transport van. When he arrived at the police substation about 45 minutes after his arrest, Gray was unresponsive. Mosby said the officers repeatedly failed to get Gray medical treatment.
The van driver, Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., faces the most serious charge — second-degree “depraved-heart” murder. Charges against the other officers — Lt. Brian W. Rice, Sgt. Alicia D. White and Officers Garrett E. Miller and William G. Porter — range from misconduct and assault to manslaughter.