State auditor wants intimidation charge dropped

Judge to hear oral arguments from both sides
March 29, 2022

A request by State Auditor Kathleen McGuiness to have an intimidation charge against her dropped is in the hands of the court.

McGuiness, who was indicted by a grand jury in October on five counts including felony theft, conflict of interest and official misconduct, filed a motion March 11 in New Castle County Superior Court asking Judge William C. Carpenter Jr. to dismiss the act of intimidation offense filed against her by the Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust under Attorney General Kathleen Jennings.

In McGuiness’s motion, her attorney Steven Wood asks that the intimidation charge be dropped because it provides insufficient notice, does not effectively preclude subsequent prosecution for the same offense, and is fatally deficient.

The division contends that McGuiness’s motion is wrong.

“To the contrary, her indictment provides abundant detail of the charges against her – far more than is required by the law,” the state responds. “It further includes several specific facts, found by the grand jury, in support of the act of intimidation charges – also not required in an indictment.”

The indictment states that after whistleblowers in the Office of Auditor of Accounts expressed concerns about misconduct within the office, McGuiness surveilled their emails and enacted office policies to limit the personal activities of some employees.

“Act of intimidation merely requires the state to show that the defendant knowingly and with malice took some action to prevent or dissuade cooperation,” the motion reads. “The indictment currently alleges these elements, and alleges multiple actions taken by the defendant to satisfy those elements.”

Carpenter is expected to hear oral arguments on the motions Thursday, April 7.

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