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DA Harrington backs indicted Baltimore prosecutor; likely challenger questions commitment to Berkshire County

Harrington speaks

Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington, the top law enforcement official in the Berkshires, took to Twitter over the weekend to defend the state's attorney in Baltimore city, who was recently indicted on federal charges of perjury.

The top law enforcement official in the Berkshires took to Twitter over the weekend to defend the state’s attorney in Baltimore city, who was recently indicted on federal charges.

District Attorney Andrea Harrington’s post garnered a few dozen likes on the social media platform — and prompted a rebuke from the lawyer running for her seat as the county’s chief prosecutor.

Harrington commented on the open case on Friday, one day after the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland said that a federal grand jury indicted Marilyn Mosby on four federal felony charges.

Mosby has been charged with perjury and making false mortgage applications relating to the purchases of two vacation homes in Florida, and maintains her innocence.

In a post that netted 61 “likes” and 327 replies as of Monday afternoon, Harrington expressed support for Mosby.

“Seeing the justice system used against @MarilynMosbyEsq is scary for those of us taking on the status quo. I have tremendous respect for Marilyn’s leadership and her courage but she shouldn’t have to bear so much. This MLK day, I will be celebrating her,” she tweeted.

Harrington followed up with a tweet that said Mosby “is on the right side of history,” tagging a number of other attorneys including Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner.

Mosby, who is months away from an election, has said she will be exonerated of the charges in the indictment. The criminal complaint was signed by U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron, whom President Joe Biden appointed to the post.

Mosby is accused of falsely claiming she suffered financial hardship from COVID-19 in order to make an early withdrawal from her retirement savings, which federal prosecutors say she used to help buy a condo and a rental property in Florida, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Mosby said the investigation was political retribution for moves she made during her time in office, including the criminal case brought against Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray a week after Gray was taken into custody, NPR reported.

“Ever since I walked down the steps of the war memorial on May 1, announced charges against six police officers in the killing of Freddie Gray, I have had a target on my back,” she said. “I’ve used my power and my discretion to do things that a lot of people in this country just don’t like.”

Harrington’s post prompted a response from Robert Sullivan, the defense attorney and former prosecutor who is running as an unenrolled candidate for Berkshire District Attorney.

Harrington hasn’t officially declared she is running for reelection to her post as district attorney.

When reached on her cellphone Monday, Harrington declined to comment directly, but pointed a reporter to campaign spokesperson Adam Webster.

Asked to elaborate on the post, Webster said Harrington campaigned on reforming the criminal justice system in Berkshire County.

“As District Attorney, she has worked with other reformers from across the nation to share best practices on how to reimagine how our criminal justice system addresses things like addiction, poverty, and incarceration during the COVID-19 pandemic. Any time the status quo is challenged, there is bound to be criticism from political opponents, but DA Harrington will continue focusing on her job as District Attorney and let her record speak for itself,” he said in an email.

Linking to the Twitter post, Sullivan said on Facebook that Harrington “seems to spend most of her time focusing on politics in other states instead of fulfilling her obligations to the residents of our county.”

He said Harrington has “failed” to commit publicly to running for another term, suggesting her decision to weigh into the situation involving another Baltimore may be “further evidence of her true priorities.”

“I am fully committed to serving and focusing on Berkshire County as an independent and apolitical voice for public safety and accountability,” he concluded.

Asked to elaborate on his statement, Sullivan said Harrington seems to spend a “tremendous amount of time” aligning herself with progressive DAs across the country, which he said “is a problem on several levels but most importantly that she isn’t focusing on her job.”

He said Harrington’s decision to support Mosby while she is under indictment amounted to placing “politics over doing her job” and “national political issues over public safety in Berkshire County.”

“In conjunction with not committing to running again, I believe she’s waiting for some other chips to fall so she can run for a different office,” he said. “Riding the fence, using the office for further political gain, and taking advantage of the county residents who she is obligated to work for.”

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

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