Prosecutors in the office of Baltimore city state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby directed police investigators to withhold evidence from the attorneys for the six cops charged in the Freddie Gray case that the 25-year-old had a history of taking part in “crash-for-cash” scams carried out in order to obtain legal settlements.
That’s according to a motion filed by the officers’ attorneys on Thursday. According to The Baltimore Sun, the attorneys obtained the information from witnesses for the prosecution.
If true, Gray’s scheme and prosecutors’ withholding of potentially exculpatory evidence would be the latest blow to Mosby’s case against the cops.
According to The Sun, assistant state’s attorney Janice Bledsoe instructed a city police investigator to “not do the defense attorneys’ jobs for them” by providing information that Gray has taken part in a scam to obtain settlements from the police department.
The new filing adds to one the attorneys submitted last week claiming that prosecutors knew that Gray had tried to injure himself while in police custody in the past. (RELATED: Baltimore Cops’ Attorneys Just Made Two Explosive Claims In Freddie Gray Case)
Gray, who had a criminal record which included 18 arrests, was arrested again on April 12 after a foot chase with police. He was handcuffed and placed, without a seat belt, on a bench in the back of a police van. While being transported to the police station, Gray suffered a severe neck injury which proved fatal when he died on April 19. A medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, though suggested that Gray could have been standing up on his own accord when he slammed into the wall of the van.
Mosby has charged the six officers with a variety of crimes ranging from misconduct to manslaughter to, in the case of the driver of Gray’s van, second-degree depraved-heart murder. The theory of her case seems to be that the officers illegally arrested Gray and committed crimes “by omission” by failing to restrain him or provide him with proper medical care.
Bledsoe’s involvement is significant for two reasons.
First, she served as Gray’s defense attorney in 2012 in a cocaine possession case, a fact which wasn’t disclosed until last month. Second, Bledsoe’s girlfriend, a local news reporter named Jayne Miller, was one of the first journalists to conduct an interview with Donta Allen, a 22-year-old who was arrested shortly after Gray and rode with him in the same police van. Allen reportedly told investigators shortly after Gray’s death that he believed that his co-prisoner was trying to harm himself while riding in the police van. He said he heard loud banging coming from Gray’s compartment.
Allen’s statement to police was reported on April 28 by The Washington Post, though without naming him. The next day, Allen was interviewed by several TV news reporters, including Miller. In those interviews, Allen retracted the statements he allegedly made to police. According to his new story, he said that he only heard light noises in Gray’s compartment.
In their latest court filing, the cops’ attorneys said that Bledsoe’s actions “would seem to indicate some level of knowledge that exculpatory evidence exists which could benefit the officers charged in Mr. Gray’s death and that the prosecutor did not want this information uncovered by investigators.”
The attorneys also honed in on Mosby’s interaction with Carole Allen, the medical examiner who conducted Gray’s autopsy. In last week’s filing, the attorneys said that Mosby and Allen met days before the release of the autopsy. Mosby’s charges against the cop are almost entirely dependent on Gray’s death being ruled a homicide.
In the new motion, the attorneys say that while Mosby’s office gave Allen statements from police officers in order to help her conduct the autopsy, she was not given crucial statements from witnesses such as Donta Allen.
Instead, she was given an “oral summary” of what Allen claimed happened in the van. Prosecutors also offered their “opinion as to Mr. Allen’s motives in providing a statement.”
“As part of the autopsy findings, the [Office of the Chief Medical Examiner] gave no weight to the statement of Donta Allen that Freddie Gray had been ‘banging himself, like he was banging his head against the metal…like he was trying to knock himself out or something,'” the filing reads, according to The Sun.
Attorneys for the six officers have called repeatedly for Mosby and others in the Baltimore city state’s attorney’s office to recuse themselves from the case, which has garnered national attention. They’ve said Mosby has made extrajudicial public statements against the officers. They’ve also alleged numerous conflicts of interest, including that the attorney for Gray’s family supported Mosby’s political campaign. They’ve also said Bledsoe’s relationship with Miller is a conflict of interest. Mosby has so far declined to recuse herself from the case.
The trial against the officers is set for October.