Baltimore prosecutor seeks gag order, citing defense actions

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BALTIMORE (AP) — Prosecutors want a judge to bar attorneys, police and witnesses from talking outside court about the case of Freddie Gray, arguing that statements by attorneys for some of the six police officers accused in Gray's death could prejudice the public, according to court documents obtained Monday.

"The efforts by defense counsel will have the necessary effect of undermining both the state's right to present the investigation to a fair and impartial grand jury in this matter and tainting the pool of potential jurors who may ultimately decide this case in a court of law," wrote Antonio Gioia, a deputy state's attorney, in the motion filed last week.

Gray died April 19, a week after he suffered a spinal injury during his arrest and transport without a seatbelt by Baltimore police. On May 1, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced charges against the officers who arrested him and took him in a van to a police station. The charges ranged from second-degree "depraved heart" murder to misdemeanor assault. Four officers, including the most senior ones and the van driver, are charged with felonies, while two officers face misdemeanor counts.

The proposed gag order Gioia addressed to Judge Timothy Doory, who is in charge of the grand jury in Baltimore, would apply to court personnel, lawyers, police, the defendants and witnesses.

Prosecutors cited concerns about statements defense attorneys made at a news conference last week on behalf of one of the officers, Sgt. Alicia White, as possibly having a "prejudicial effect" on the case. Attorneys Ivan Bates and Tony Garcia defended White's action and character and criticized the prosecution.

The motion also alleged that attorneys for the officers have provided copies of pretrial motions to the media before prosecutors received them.

Prosecutors said that, in contrast, they have denied all media requests for documents and evidence about the investigation to protect the officers' right to a fair trial.

While Mosby gave a lengthy news conference to enumerate the charges against the officers, she did not take questions about the case. She also appeared on stage, but only waved to the audience, at a Prince concert in Baltimore billed as a "Rally 4 Peace" following rioting and other unrest in the city related to Gray's death.

Michael Davey, an attorney whose law firm is representing one of the officers, has appeared at news conferences organized by the police union, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3. At one news conference, he said Mosby had committed "an egregious rush to judgment."

"We have grave concerns about the fairness and integrity of the prosecution of our officers," Davey said.

The officers' attorneys have questioned her impartiality and asked a judge to replace her or dismiss the case. In court filings, they have said she moved too quickly to charge the officers because of the unrest in West Baltimore, where her husband is a city councilman. Other conflicts of interest include Mosby's political relationship with an attorney representing the Gray family, the attorneys said.

Bates on Monday declined to comment on the motion. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor did not immediately return a call for comment but declined Friday to comment on the gag order.

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