Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned on Thursday amid a scandal involving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of children’s books that she wrote. I discuss it on Fox News with Shepard Smith.
Baltimore Mayor Resigns Amid Scandal Over Payments for Children’s Books
May 3rd, 2019
Shepard Smith: Baltimore city has had its share of problems in this office over the years and sure enough it’s happened again. There are questions now about what happens with the investigation. There is will, because of her resignation, some of these investigations go by the wayside or does she face other possible penalties as a result? On this matter, I’m not sure. I’m waiting to hook up with our Criminal Defense Attorney, former prosecutor Bob, Bianchi who is making his way into studio to discuss this. Sometimes when the elected officials are accused in scandals of this sort, a resignation is all that’s necessary, and then prosecutions, etcetera, sort of fall by the wayside. In other cases, the prosecution is coming. Therefore, all of those involved with government, for the good of the city and the good of the people, want the person who is accused of these crimes out so that the investigation can get underway in any prosecutions that would happen, wouldn’t happen to a sitting mayor. The question is what happens here? Bob Bianchi is with us now, a Criminal Defense Attorney, former Prosecutor. What do you make of this, in the hole?
Robert Bianchi: I think it’s a smart move for her, Shep. I mean one of the things you want to do is there’s two opposite things occurring here. When you’re being charged or potentially charged with a crime, you want to remain silent. You want to stay out of the public view. And a lot of times political people don’t do that and that’s where they get themselves into trouble and wind up offering the information to the prosecution to help seal the case. So, she’s done that. The next thing that these Defense Attorneys are going to be doing, or at least I would be doing, and I do it now as a Defense Lawyer, is contacting the government authorities and saying, look, she’s fighting a two-front war. She’s got State Prosecutors after her. She’s got federal Prosecutors after she got the IRS criminal division, actually three front war. And she needs to get there and they need to try to do a global resolution. So, what we do is we go in and say, let’s have a proper session, what see what you got. And by the way, she’s willing to accept responsibility. She’s willing to cooperate and let’s wrap this whole thing up in a package. The early you get there, the better the deal you can get. That is of course, if the proofs are sufficient to prove the case.
Shepard Smith: Stepping down from office does not absolve her in this case?
Robert Bianchi: No, it doesn’t absolve, you know, but what I would’ve done, and maybe this is going on, is I would’ve gone to the US Attorneys in this and the other Prosecutors and said, listen, as part of this package that we have here, she will also resign. I would use resignation or a try to use resignation as a negotiating tool to say, let’s lower, let’s not hit a fly with a sledgehammer here. She did something wrong. If in fact the facts prove that and as part of that she’s willing to resign and also accept responsibility to try to lessen her guideline range, especially in the federal system.
Shepard Smith: Or they could fight it. Because getting a benefit alone is not enough, is it?
Robert Bianchi: Well, she’s out of line, right, so any public servant knows. I can tell you personally, when I was Prosecutor, I didn’t accept even a Free cup of coffee. That’s not even a joke, right? But when you’re intermingling business relationships with people that you supervise or that you oversee and you’re doing it for your financial gain, you are opening the specter of the fact that you could be bribed or you got this cash is coming in really to try to curry favor with her.
Shepard Smith: Doesn’t that have to be a quid pro quo. Don’t you have to say, if you, if you give me this money, I will give you this favor. Or if you give me this favor, I will give you this money?
Robert Bianchi: Hardest thing for Prosecutors to prove is that quid pro quo, you have to use your official position in order to try to exact a personal benefit, but there’s also another crime in the state that we have to look at, which is an abuse of your official position, which could also just be, you don’t have to have a quid pro quo there. They could just be malfeasance or non-feasance not doing your job, violating a rule or regulation of which I am certain. There are ethics rules that say you are not the personally benefit by using your position in order to get money, even if it wasn’t a quid pro quo. She’s in a lot of danger here, Shep.
Shepard Smith: Catherine Pugh, the embattled mayor of Baltimore city is out, effective immediately. Bob Bianchi, thank you.
Robert Bianchi: Yeah Shep.