Laptop evidence mostly allowed in McGuiness case

Judge excludes any information produced after March 31
May 24, 2022

With a May 31 trial date looming in the state’s case against State Auditor Kathy McGuiness, a judge has ruled that some evidence from laptops belonging to McGuiness and her daughter can be used, but not all of it.

McGuiness had asked Superior Court Judge William Carpenter to not allow evidence gathered from three laptops because her defense did not have sufficient time to review the evidence.

In a split decision, Carpenter allowed all files collected by a state forensic team to be used in the upcoming trial, except for “any material from the three laptops seized during the search of the defendant’s office that was produced after March 31, 2022.”

As for the rest of the evidence found on the laptops, Carpenter said much is information that has always been available to McGuiness through her state email and state auditor account network. “The court is satisfied that the defendant can search and use the produced information to aid her defense effectively,” Carpenter wrote.

He did say, however, that if the defense wants additional time to search and review documents, the court is willing to consider the request, although it would delay the May 31 trial date.

A trial date has been scheduled for that time so the state’s case against McGuiness can be resolved before this year’s election. McGuiness, a Democrat, has already filed for re-election to the office she has held since 2018, but being found guilty of felony theft or intimidation would prevent her from running for office. She was indicted on those counts and misdemeanor violations in 2021 in connection with hiring her daughter as an employee of the auditor’s office and structuring payments to an outside contractor to avoid public bidding or fiscal scrutiny by the state. The indictment also accuses McGuiness of intimidating employees who she believed were whistleblowers. 

McGuiness pleaded not guilty to all charges.


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