A 'Who's Who' in Baltimore police prosecution (and journalism)

Baltimore State's Attorney's office ties to media and the lawyer for Freddie Gray's family

On Friday Gene Ryan, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, sent an open letter to State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby asking her to appoint a special prosecutor because of the "many conflicts of interest presented by your office conducting an investigation in this case."

The police union also complained about Mosby's office's ties to "members of the local media."

Here are the conflicts, as far as we know:

WBAL's Jayne Miller, the region's most prominent and best investigative TV reporter, complained to City Paper earlier this week that The Sun’s Justin George was "embedded" in the police’s internal investigation, following the detectives as they did their secret and crucial work on the condition that he not reveal the details until a later date.

Miller suggested that this could put The Sun in a position of conflict, unable to report all it learns.

George, a police reporter who did excellent work two years ago on a complex internal investigation when three Navy divers were killed in a huge test tank at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, responded evasively to questions about it. "You know I can’t tell you that," he says. Classic non-denial denial. 

How Miller knew The Sun’s business is unclear. She's probably the best-sourced reporter in Baltimore when it comes to police and the criminal justice system. Also, her domestic partner, Janice Bledsoe, is the Deputy State’s Attorney for Criminal Justice. She is one of the lead investigators in the Freddie Gray investigation. 

Miller referred City Paper’s questions about her and her partner’s rules about confidential information to WBAL General Manager Dan Joerres. 

“I think the letter makes a lot of assumptions,” Joerres says in a phone conversation. “Our news department operates at the highest ethical standards, as does every department at WBAL.”

He would not say that WBAL had a rule against Miller receiving tips from her significant other. Of Miller, he says, “her 30-plus years of reporting in the city of Baltimore speaks for itself.”

Questions about whether Bledsoe has leaked information to WBAL previously may have gotten her fired by State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein, Marilyn Mosby’s predecessor. Her job then? Prosecuting dirty cops. 

Or it might have been that Bernstein and his wife, Sheryl Goldstein, were too close to a high-ranking officer—Robert Quick—who Bledsoe wanted to investigate and prosecute for theft. Bernstein fired Bledsoe and personally cleared that officer in the criminal matter.

Baltimore is rife with such disagreements about who has conflicts of interest. Bledsoe worked on Mosby's campaign, and Mosby rehired Bledsoe soon after she was elected. Mosby also purged a number of Bernstein-era prosecutors, some in the middle of criminal trials

In Baltimore, assistant state's attorneys are not civil servants.  

Mosby is of course also married to Nick Mosby, the city councilman whose 7th District includes the neighborhood where Freddie Gray lived and was arrested.

And Marilyn Mosby’s transition team included William "Billy" Murphy, the former judge and present lawyer for Freddie Gray’s family, who spoke passionately from the pulpit at Gray’s funeral on Monday. He called for the six police officers who were involved in Gray’s arrest to “come forward and tell all, just like we tell our citizens to do.”

He did not immediately respond to a telephone message.


Click here for more from Edward Ericson Jr. or email Edward at eericson@citypaper.com

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