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Darcy Costello

Baltimore Sun

January 24, 2024

A Baltimore County District Court judge postponed a scheduled trial Wednesday in the criminal case against Baltimore Police Major Jennifer McGrath.

McGrath was charged in November with a misdemeanor offense of misuse of electronic communications after a woman said in a sworn application for charges that McGrath had texted her, among other things, “I could make you disappear if I wanted too” and “I am powerful, established, unlike you.”

Her alleged comments were described as a “civilian’s worst nightmare” by the Baltimore City’s Police Accountability Board earlier this month. Board members also questioned how McGrath was promoted from captain to major despite the pending charges and related internal affairs investigation.

The county State’s Attorney’s Office requested the postponement, saying both prosecutors and the defense were still working to uncover evidence in the case.

McGrath’s defense attorney, Chaz Ball, opposed the delay. He said his team was waiting for the return of a subpoena for IP address information that he believed would show the alleged harassment was “fabricated.”

District Judge Kathleen Murphy, however, granted the postponement, citing ongoing discovery issues.

Someone who identified herself as the victim in the case spoke up during court and said they had been receiving death threats and didn’t wish to move forward with the criminal case.

State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger told The Baltimore Sun later Wednesday that his prosecutors “are still going forward” with the case. He said the newly alleged threats also are under investigation.

“Because of what is going on,” Shellenberger said, “the [police] investigation is continuing, to find out the source of what is happening to the victim now.”

McGrath’s next court hearing was set for Feb. 29.

Baltimore Police has said it is aware of the pending criminal case and that an internal investigation is ongoing. That probe was started by a complaint filed with the Public Integrity Bureau, police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge said.

One of the alleged messages from McGrath read, “I’ve already contacted by connections at internal affairs to let them know to throw your complaint out.” The woman who swore out charges also said McGrath told her, “I’m a Captain no one is going to believe you.”

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