Federal prosecutors want the disgraced former mayor of Baltimore to be sentenced to nearly five years in prison for the scheme involving sales of her self-published “Healthy Holly” children's books.
In a sentencing memorandum filed Thursday, prosecutors told a judge that a sentence of 57 months in prison would be an “adequate and just” punishment for Catherine Pugh's “longstanding pattern of criminal conduct” and would deter other politicians from breaking the public's trust. Pugh pleaded guilty in November to federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges in a deal with prosecutors.
Pugh, a veteran Democratic politician, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 27 in Baltimore. She was elected mayor in 2016 and resigned under pressure in May.
The case centers on lucrative bulk sales of Pugh's “Healthy Holly” books to nonprofits and foundations to promote her political career and fund her run for mayor. The paperbacks were meant for schools and day care centers, but it's unclear where tens of thousands of copies ended up.
“The facts establish that Pugh deliberately engaged in a broad range of criminal acts while serving as Maryland State Senator and Mayor of Baltimore City,” prosecutors wrote. “She used the stature of those elected offices to solicit fraudulent book sales that generated substantial revenue for her publishing business, part of which she used to influence her 2016 mayoral election campaign in violation of state election laws.”
Pugh's attorney, Steven Silverman, told The Associated Press the former mayor's defense team “strongly disagrees with the government’s sentencing recommendation." He said the defense's recommended sentence will be detailed in a separate filing that will be made public pending a court order.