BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Former Mayor Catherine Pugh will appear again in federal court Thursday, as she did three months ago when she pleaded guilty to several charges stemmed from selling her self-published children’s books.
Prosecutors are asking for about five years for the former Baltimore mayor, saying her scheme showed a significant breach in public trust.
Her lawyers are asking for one year and one day in prison.
“If you’ve lived 69, 70 years, and this is the first time you’ve ever been in a criminal courtroom, that’s going to be very much in the former mayor’s favor,” said University of Maryland Law Professor Doug Colbert.
Professor Colbert said the judge will weigh her guilty pleas with her public service, but a message needs to be sent to other public officials.
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“One of the most important parts of punishment is to deter future misconduct of the same kind, and we are seeing too much corruption among our public officials.” He said.
The prosecution laid out how much Pugh sold and re-sold her children’s books in a seven-year scheme, totaling $860,000.
71 people wrote letters to Judge Deborah Chasanow, asking her to show leniency on Thursday at the sentencing, including church friends at Bethel A.M.E., neighbors in Ashburton and two of her brothers.
“She absolutely should speak tomorrow. She has a lot to apologize for and others will speak on her behalf to point out all the accomplishments she has achieved.” Professor Colbert said.
Among those who wrote letters on Pugh’s behalf to the judge include former Mayor Kurt Schmoke, congressional candidate Kweisi Mfume and W. Paul Coates, the original publisher of the first Healthy Holly book, who said Pugh’s intentions were pure when she started.
Her sentencing hearing begins at 10 a.m. Thursday.