BALTIMORE – A federal judge pared down the lawsuit while allowing key parts against Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, brought by five of the six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, to move forward, reported The Baltimore Sun.
U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis ruled that claims including malicious prosecution, defamation, and invasion of privacy can move forward against Mosby and Assistant Sheriff Samuel Cogen, who wrote the statement of probable cause.
Mosby’s attorneys claimed prosecutorial immunity from actions taken as a state’s attorney. But the judge declared that her office has said it conducted an independent investigation.
“Plaintiffs’ malicious prosecution claims relate to her actions when functioning as an investigator and not as a prosecutor,” Garbis wrote.
Officers Garrett Miller, Edward Nero, William Porter, Sgt. Alicia White and Lt. Brian Rice have sued Mosby and Cogen in federal court, alleging they knowingly brought false charges.
Mosby and Cogen deny the allegations.
Officer Caesar Goodson, who was driving the arrest van in which the medical examiner’s office said Gray suffered his injuries, did not join the lawsuit.
The allegations of false arrest, false imprisonment and abuse of process, were dismissed. All claims against the state were also dismissed.
The Maryland attorney general’s office, which is representing Mosby, declined to comment on the 65-page ruling, saying officials needed time to review it.
Three of the officers charged in the April 2015 arrest and death of Gray were found not guilty of all charges by a judge, and prosecutors dropped charges against the remaining three officers reported LET in an article featuring Sgt. Alicia White.
David Ellin, an attorney representing Lt. Rice, said that barring a reversal on appeal, the ruling means the officers’ attorneys will begin the discovery stage, which includes deposing Mosby and others involved in the investigation.
“We’re looking forward to the depositions and learning about what really happened,” Ellin said. “We think the discovery process will really allow us to flesh out many things.”
Ellin expects Mosby’s attorney’s to appeal the ruling.
As part of his ruling, Judge Garbis wrote, “Viewed in the light most favorable to the Plaintiffs, they present allegations that present a plausible claim that the defendants made false statements or omissions either knowingly or with reckless disregard of their truth or falsity.”
Garbis said he was “not definitively deciding” that Mosby and Cogen would not still enjoy immunity. “Rather the court is determining that the existence of this affirmative defense is not clear on the face of the complaint and a firm conclusion on the reasonableness of the probable cause determination requires greater factual development,” he noted.
Circuit Judge Barry Williams ruled during the criminal trials that Mosby’s team of prosecutors were required to turn over documents that would normally be protected from the discovery process simply because they conducted an independent investigation from the police department.
Judge Garbis wrote. “Plaintiffs have alleged facts adequate to present a plausible Fourth Amendment claim.”
In a case of pointing-fingers, Cogen’s attorneys said last fall that he did not have firsthand knowledge of the evidence in the case, and only looked at documents presented to him by Mosby’s office. Mosby’s attorneys say the material that ended up in the charging documents was Cogen’s responsibility.
To be continued . . .