Kevin Rector, Baltimore Sun, June 3, 2015
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby plans to seek a protective order that would block the release of Freddie Gray’s autopsy report and other “sensitive” documents as she prosecutes the six police officers involved in his arrest.
Mosby told The Baltimore Sun that prosecutors “have a duty to ensure a fair and impartial process for all parties involved” and “will not be baited into litigating this case through the media.”
But an attorney for one of the officers said the effort shows that “there is something in that autopsy report that they are trying to hide.”
“Mrs. Mosby is the one who did an announcement discussing what she said the evidence was in a nationally televised speech,” said Ivan Bates, who represents Sgt. Alicia White. “Now that it is time to turn over the evidence, to ask for a protective order is beyond disingenuous.
“It’s as if she wants to do everything to make sure our clients do not get a fair trial.”
Baltimore’s chief prosecutor declared her intention to seek the protective order in a court filing Monday. She also asked for more time to respond to defense motions that she and her office be removed from the case and that the case be tried outside Baltimore.
The move is the latest effort by Mosby’s office to restrict information in the high-profile case. Her office has also sought a gag order to prevent participants from discussing the case in public, and has broken with a long-standing practice by not giving a copy of the autopsy report to Baltimore police.
In a response to Mosby’s latest filing, defense attorneys said Wednesday that they have been denied an outline of evidence and claims against the officers, and have not been allowed to inspect a knife that was taken from Gray during his arrest.
Bates said the protective order would allow only prosecutors and defense attorneys to see the documents, and could require the court to seal all new filings that make reference to information in the documents.
In that way, he said, it would be more restrictive than a gag order.
“Nobody would know anything but the state and the defense, so they would totally hide it from the public,” Bates said. “If your case is as good as you said it was, why don’t you just show the evidence? . . . You can’t holler and say, ‘I’m about accountability for the citizens,’ and then run around filing for a protective order.”
The Sun is one of 19 news organizations contesting Mosby’s gag order request.
[Defense lawyers] noted Mosby’s office took less than two weeks to conduct an investigation into the officers, and said they had “deep-seated concerns” about Mosby attending public events such as a Prince concert and a circus and doing interviews with outlets such as Vogue Magazine while the lives and careers of the officers “remain in jeopardy.”
“It is the position of the Defendants that they have been unlawfully charged, that the charges are the by-product of a State’s Attorney’s Office with deep conflicts of interest, and that the charges are mired by prosecutorial misconduct, which is ongoing in nature,” the defense attorneys wrote. “These issues are impairing the Defendants’ rights of due process–rights which continue to be injured with each passing day.”