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Judge denies Mosby’s request for stay in defamation case

BALTIMORE, MD — A federal judge has denied Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s request to stay defamation lawsuits against her while she appeals the judge’s rulings on her immunity.

“The Court does not, by any means, consider Mosby’s appeal to be meritorious,” Senior U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis wrote in the memorandum opinion Monday.

The underlying lawsuits, filed by five of the Baltimore Police Department officers charged in connection with the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, are pending in U.S. District Court in Baltimore and claim defamation, malicious prosecution, invasion of privacy and Fourth Amendment violations.

Garbis declined to extend absolute or qualified immunity to Mosby on those claims after a hearing on her motion to dismiss in October. He did dismiss claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, abuse of process, conspiracy and constitutional violations involving the grand jury that charged the officers. Mosby appealed to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The circumstances presented in the instant case overwhelmingly support the conclusion that there should be no stay of discovery pending resolution of Mosby’s interlocutory appeal,” Senior U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis

Garbis analyzed Mosby’s likelihood of success on the merits of the appeal, potential irreparable injury, substantial harm to the other parties and public interest. He concluded a stay is not warranted largely because the claims against Mosby’s co-defendant, Major Samuel Cogen of the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office, who did not file an appeal, would proceed and include discovery involving Mosby.

“Certainly there is no public interest in enabling a public official to delay providing information regarding claims against her where, as here, essentially the same information would be disclosed even if she obtained dismissal of all claims against her,” Garbis wrote.

Cogen signed the application for statement of charges initiating the officers’ criminal cases and faces the same claims as Mosby except for defamation, which stems from her public remarks about the charges.

The lawsuits were filed in April and May in both state and federal court by Lt. Brian Rice, Sgt. Alicia White and Officers Edward Nero, Garrett Miller and William Porter. The state court filings were removed to federal court and the matters were consolidated.

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