Disgraced Former Baltimore Mayor Releases Apology Video Ahead of Sentencing

Ahead of her sentencing, former Mayor Catherine Pugh released a video apologizing profusely for what she’s done.

The Democrat was indicted last November on 11 counts of charges that included tax evasion, conspiracy and fraud, and pleaded guilty to four charges the following day.

Fox News reports Catherine Pugh, a former mayor of Baltimore who is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday following her conviction on federal tax evasion and conspiracy charges, apologizes for her crimes in a 13-minute video that went public Wednesday.

“I accept responsibility,” Pugh says in the video, among the public materials being reviewed the judge who will determine her punishment, according to Baltimore’s FOX 45.

“I accept total responsibility. I pled guilty and I’m sorry. I don’t know any other words that could be strong. I am so sorry,” Pugh says.

The former mayor, who will turn 70 on March 10, resigned last May after taking an indefinite leave of absence a month earlier, claiming health problems, as pressure mounted on her following allegations that she profited from questionable sales of large quantities of the “Healthy Holly” children’s books she authored.

The Baltimore Sun reports what started off as a promising mayoralty ended in ignominy last year when the Democrat resigned from office amid a corruption scandal involving her sale of her “Healthy Holly” children’s books to entities that did business with state and city governments. On Thursday, Pugh will be sentenced in federal court in Baltimore after pleading guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion.

Pugh’s attorneys submitted a 13-minute video to the court Wednesday in which Pugh apologized in her most extensive remarks on the scandal in nearly a year.

“When I think about me and my capacity and my capabilities, and all of the things I’ve been able to do, I said, ‘How did you end up here? How do you mess this up?’” Pugh says in the video. “I messed up. I really messed up. I am so sorry.”

She faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Arguing Pugh deliberately engaged in an “illegal scheme,” prosecutors are seeking a nearly five-year term of incarceration, while Pugh’s defense team is asking U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow for a prison sentence of one year and one day.

US Attorney for Maryland Robert Hur talks about the effort by many people in the case against former Mayor of Baltimore Catherine Pugh.

Given that Pugh is nearly 70 years old and a first-time offender, the acknowledgement from Pugh’s defense lawyers that she should serve some prison time surprised many courtroom observers. But Andrew I. Alperstein, a defense attorney and former Baltimore County prosecutor, said he believes Pugh’s defense team was being “realistic.”

“When you have a mayor of a major American city involved in a corruption scheme, it would be difficult for a judge not to impose some punishment,” Alperstein said. “It would send the wrong message to other politicians and to the public that there’s no accountability.”

As they head into sentencing, Pugh’s defense team of Steven D. Silverman, Andrew C. White and Abigail E. Ticse, has tried to emphasize her positive qualities ― and the toll the case has taken on her.

“Ms. Pugh is paying a tremendously heavy price for her crimes,” her lawyers wrote in a recent sentencing memo. “Her actions have caused significant pain, embarrassment, and shame for her and her family … she is now too ashamed to spend any time in the community that she loves.”

White, a former federal prosecutor, said Pugh plans to address the court Thursday.

He said the video was submitted in an attempt to convey her passion for the city.

“Catherine has done so much in her life … that frankly can’t be adequately captured on paper,” White said.