The Fraternal Order of Police leveled serious conflict-of-interest charges Friday against the Baltimore state's attorney's office — and the local media.
Gene Ryan, president of Fraternal Order of Police, wrote in a letter to State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby that he has "very deep concerns about the many conflicts of interest" involving her office prosecuting six officers for the death of Freddie Gray. He asked her to appoint a special prosecutor.
One of his concerns involve the "lead prosecutor's connections with members of the local media" constitute a conflict of interest demands comment.
Ryan does not get into specifics, but lead prosecutor in Mosby's office, the official who led the investigation in the Freddie Gray case, is veteran attorney Janice Bledsoe.
Bledsoe is in a relationship with WBAL investigative reporter Jayne Miller (pictured), one of Baltimore's most experienced and well sourced TV journalists.
Miller confirmed the relationship to a Sun reporter Friday morning. Later in the day, when I called to ask her about the allegations, she said, "Call my general manager."
Dan Joerres, general manager at WBAL, offered three statements in response to a series of questions about Miller.
"I can assure you our news department operates at the highest level of ethical standards as does every department at WBAL," Joerres said when asked about the FOP allegations. "Jayne Miller's 30-plus years of award-winning reporting on the city of Baltimore speaks for itself."
When asked if he was concerned about a conflict of interest or perception of one in Miller's case, he said, "Anytime we have a potential conflict of interest, it's discussed and vetted in an appropriate manner."
He repeated that answer when asked if the station had ever disclosed on-air the relationship between the two when Miller reported on cases connected to Bledsoe's office.
Calls to the state's attorney's office seeking comment from Bledsoe were not immediately returned Friday.
CNN also has conflict, but they are being more open about it.
CNN is using attorney Sunny Hostin as one of its legal experts. Hostin, who once lived and worked in Baltimore, is a friend of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
CNN has pointed out Hostin's connection in the case every time a show host went to her for commentary. CNN announced Hostin's conflict of interest so that viewers could judge her remarks within the context of that knowledge.
WBAL's viewers deserve at least as much transparency and truth as CNN's are getting.
H/T Baltimore Sun