BALTIMORE — Federal prosecutors say they do not oppose a 60-day extension for former Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh to report to prison in Alabama.
Pugh’s attorneys requested the delay to June 1 on Wednesday, citing the desire to resolve state-level perjury charges and to try to change her prison designation.
Federal prosecutors responded that they were going along with the request only because of Justice Department policies in place to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Prosecutors specifically rejected Pugh’s claim that a delay should be granted until the state perjury case is settled. They also dismissed her argument that she needed time to appeal her placement in an Alabama prison.
“Such a delay is consistent with Department of Justice recommendations and the proactive steps it is taking in coordination with federal courts to mitigate the spread of the virus,” wrote prosecutor Martin Clarke. “Minimizing the potential introduction of the virus into the prison setting can be achieved by limiting the movement of defendants who have been ordered to self-report to a BOP facility and do not represent a risk of flight or a risk to public safety. The defendant is in this category.”
Pugh’s attorneys attached an email from the Federal Public Defender’s Office that said the Bureau of Prisons is imposing a temporary halt to moving persons into the system, instead keeping detained inmates at facilities like the Chesapeake Detention Center or Northern Neck Regional Jail.
Pugh is slated to serve her three-year prison sentence at the women’s prison in Aliceville, Ala.
Pugh still has pending perjury charges in Anne Arundel County, brought by the Office of the State Prosecutor in December. A court hearing in that case is scheduled for May 14, after being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pugh’s attorneys say if she were to report to the Alabama facility before that case is resolved, she will have to be transported back to Anne Arundel County, a nearly 900-mile trek.
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