Former Baltimore Mayor Pugh Headed For Alabama Prison

Convicted former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has been assigned to an Alabama women's prison, expected to report to jail by the end of April, reported CBS Baltimore, citing new court documents. 

Pugh was sentenced on February 27 to three-years after pleading guilty to tax evasion and fraud-related charges to the "Healthy Holly" children's book scandal. She was expected to report to prison on April 13, has since received an extension until April 27 so she could spend time with her niece. 

According to the court documents, Pugh has pending state perjury charges, which are expected to be resolved before she reports to prison. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the court system in Baltimore and pushed the hearing out to May 14. Pugh's attorney is asking the court to delay when she reports to federal prison until early June: 

"To require the Defendant to surrender to BOP [Bureau of Prisons] custody in Alabama, only to then have to be immediately returned to Maryland for the final adjudication of her state law charges, serves no legitimate purpose, unduly burdens the United States Marshals Service in having to unnecessarily transport the Defendant back to Maryland, could cause undue delays in the state court proceedings, and frustrates the Defendant's access to BOP programs that she can benefit from while serving her sentence in a designated facility," Pugh's attorney Andy White wrote in a filing. 

Court documents said Pugh was assigned to the Federal Correctional Institution in Aliceville, Alabama, a medium-security federal prison. Her attorney argues against her assignment to the facility, indicating it violates recommendations in the First Step Act. White says Pugh would preferably spend her sentence in West Virginia.

"An extension of the current surrender date would allow the Defendant time to petition the BOP to change her designation to a facility consistent with the First Step Act's requirement that BOP' place [a] prisoner in a facility as close as practicable to the prisoner's primary residence, and to the extent practicable, in a facility within 500 driving miles of that residence,'" White wrote.

The 70-year-old's political unraveling began in March 2019 when The Baltimore Sun uncovered a shady deal she made with the University of Maryland Medical System, where she sat on the board of directors, to purchase upwards of 100,000 copies of her Healthy Holly books for $500,000. By April 2019, the FBI and IRS raided her home, and days later, she went missing. Prosecutors say the former mayor netted $850,000 off the book deal. 

Pugh is a veteran Democratic politician that became mayor in 2016 and resigned in May 2019. Now she's headed to federal prison for hard time.