BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Mere hours before former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is set to be sentenced on tax evasion and conspiracy charges stemming from the scandal surrounding the sale of her self-published “Healthy Holly” books, the former mayor’s defense team released an emotional video in which Pugh apologizes for her actions.
In the nearly 13-minute video that an attorney representing the former mayor shared with WJZ, a remorseful Pugh apologizes to “the citizens, to young people, to partners, my friends, everyone I’ve offended (and) everyone I’ve hurt.”
WATCH FORMER MAYOR CATHERINE PUGH’S EMOTIONAL APOLOGY VIDEO:
“I know better who I am, but I also know where I am and I accept responsibility, I accept total responsibility,” Pugh said. “I pled guilty. I’m sorry. I don’t know any other words that could be stronger. I’m so sorry, I really am sorry.”
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The video dives into Pugh’s life story, with the former mayor recalling helping to raise her siblings after graduating high school as her ailing parents grew sicker. She also remembers her time as a student at Morgan State University.
The video goes on to show Pugh listing some of her accomplishments as a city and state leader, including her marching arm-in-arm with the late Rep. Elijah Cummings amid the Baltimore riots in 2015.
At the end of the video, Pugh sits with her hands crossed in front of her mouth as a voiceover plays: “When I think about me and my capacity and my capabilities and all the things I’ve been able to do, I said, ‘How do you end up here? I mean how do you mess this up?’ I messed up, I really messed up. I’m so sorry, I really am sorry.”
When asked if Pugh would make any further comments at sentencing Thursday morning, attorney Steven Silverman said she “reserves the right to speak to the judge directly and will make that decision tomorrow.”
Pugh’s attorney also said they submitted the video to the court after she had pleaded guilty to federal charges.
Pugh pleaded guilty in November to charges of tax evasion and conspiracy to defrauding the U.S. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of nearly five years in prison; Pugh’s team recommends she spend one year and one day behind bars.