BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Disgraced former mayor Catherine Pugh spoke outside the federal courthouse in Baltimore Thursday afternoon following her sentencing in the “Healthy Holly” children’s book scandal.
Pugh was sentenced to three years in prison followed by three years of probation after pleading guilty to multiple charges in a federal fraud and tax evasion case.
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On Thursday after her sentencing, Pugh smiled as she addressed the public.
“Let me first say to all the supporters, the friends, to all the people who wrote on behalf [of me], I wanted to say thank you to all of them. But I think the first thing I should do is apologize to the citizens of Baltimore, who put their faith and trust in me as their mayor and to all the people who put their faith and trust in me as a state senator and as a delegate.”
“One of the things I said in the courtroom — that none of this was intentional — what it turned out to be. And today, I faced the justice system. And I know the justice system is set up to protect those who violate the system and those who criminalize the system. So as one who’s gone through this, I wouldn’t want this on anybody. Again I’m apologetic to the citizens of Baltimore. Nobody loves Baltimore more than I do. I think many of you followed me over the years. I think some folks met me at 4 o’clock in the morning til 10 or 11 o’clock at night, because I believe in this city.”
“I know that Baltimore will move forward. We’ve got some great people out there, I hope that will take over the realms as mayor. What I want the citizens of Baltimore to do is to continue to believe in the future of our city. And again I apologize to the city, the state, and I had folks who flew in from across the country today — so I apologize to them as well. Sometimes when you think you’re doing one thing — as my mother used to say, it’s not what you intend to do it is what you do. And all of us pay the price for the things that don’t turn out the way that they should turn out.
“I am also grateful to those members of boards and commissions I’ve served on over the years, and I look forward to rebuilding my life and getting myself back together. I tell ya, those lights y’all shined on the corner of my street for those many days, it was painful. I’ve learned a lot of lessons. I’ve learned a lot of lessons. I’ve learned the lessons of how you make sure that what you intend to do you get done, that you surround yourself with people who don’t want to serve you but get the job done. And so I will take those lessons with me, I will continue to listen, learn and I don’t think this is the last chapter for Catherine Pugh. And I look forward to regaining my strength, my zeal, my love for the people of this city. And again let me take a moment to thank all of those people, everybody who appeared today in the courtroom — and as somebody said they all weren’t supporters, most of them were — and everybody who traveled far and near to be here and the letters. And I want to thank my team who fought every day on my behalf.”
“I should also take a moment to thank my — I call them my nurses and my angels — believe it or not I could not get up those first 60, 90 days that I laid crawled up in my bed. I just couldn’t. It was hard to face and it is for all people. Sometimes it’s hard to face what really, actually does occur.
“Again it’s not the last you’ll see of Catherine Pugh.”
Pugh choked up when a reporter asked about the emotional toll this case has taken on her.
“This is really hard. This is hard to stand here with you all. I will continue to make sure my mental and physical health — you all know that I did suffer from pneumonia, bronchitis, some other things — this is the time for me to rebuild my life,” she ended.
Pugh must turn herself in by April 13 and pay $400,000 in restitution to the University of Maryland Medical System and $12,000 to the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund.
She will also have to forfeit $669,688, including her Ashburton home and $17,800 in her campaign account.