A federal judge has ruled that key parts of a lawsuit against Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, filed by five of the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, can move forward.
“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,” the Baltimore Sun reports.
Although Mosby’s attorneys said she had immunity from prosecution for actions taken as a state’s attorney, Garbis noted that her office had 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.
The claims of false arrest, false imprisonment and abuse of process were dismissed, the Sun reports, as were all claims against the state.
Mosby is being represented by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, which has not yet commented on the 65-page ruling.
As previously reported on The Root, Gray, 25, suffered a broken spine while in police custody and died a week later. Three of the officers charged in the April 2015 arrest and death of Gray were found not guilty of all charges, and prosecutors dropped the charges against the remaining three officers in July 2016.
David Ellin, an attorney representing Lt. Brian Rice, one of the officers who sued Mosby and Cogen, told the Sun that barring a reversal on appeal, the ruling means that 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 told the Sun that he expects Mosby’s attorneys to appeal, and he wouldn’t be surprised if the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court because of the questions it poses for prosecutors who take a more active role in investigations.
“The ramifications of this case are huge and nationwide,” Ellin said.
As the Sun notes, Mosby charged six officers involved in Gray's arrest and transport with criminal counts including manslaughter and second-degree murder, alleging that the arresting officers had no grounds to detain Gray, and other officers ignored Baltimore Police Department rules requiring them to secure him with a seat belt in the police van and seek prompt medical attention.
Officers Garrett Miller, Edward Nero and William Porter, Sgt. Alicia White and Rice have all alleged that Mosby and Cogen knowingly brought false charges.
Both 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 Sun notes.
Garbis said that the plaintiffs’ allegations provided enough support for the lawsuit to move forward.
"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 wrote.
According to the Sun, 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, but Mosby's attorneys say the material that ended up in the charging documents was Cogen's responsibility.
Read more at the Baltimore Sun.