Day 2 McGuiness trial

Witnesses in McGuiness trial testify about state email monitoring

Requests can include live exchanges
June 15, 2022

Technology and finance experts testified June 15 in the state’s criminal case against State Auditor Kathy McGuiness, explaining how she made requests to review emails of her employees and submitted invoices for a contractor.

The prosecution showed requests McGuiness made in 2021 to review emails generated by several employees of the auditor’s office.

In one case, James Herron, an employee with the Department of Technology and Information, said an employee whose emails were monitored by McGuiness left the auditor’s office to work for the Delaware Department of Transportation, but McGuiness continued to have access to the employee’s email.

“I think that may be the employee we got in trouble for,” Herron said.

Following a dust-up about an open-ended email request that followed the employee to a new state job, he said, DTI required dates to be attached to requests for future email monitoring.

Under questioning by McGuiness’s attorney Steve Wood, Herron said when he told McGuiness that DTI can longer provide open-ended email monitoring, her requests stopped.

Another DTI employee, Jonathan Purdy, testified that a department head who requests email information could also see those emails in real time.

Documents shared during the trial included requests by McGuiness for emails generated during selected months of 2021, and subpoena requests by the Department of Justice for emails generated by McGuiness. 

During 2021, McGuiness also sent DTI a request for emails between some of her employees and the Department of Justice, documents showed.

In other testimony, Jane Cole, director of the Division of Accounting, testified about invoice payments per the state’s accounting manual, and she said breaking up payments so that they are beneath the reporting threshold is not consistent with the accounting manual.

Questioning focused on several payments the auditor’s office made to My Campaign Group, which were beneath the $5,000 threshold that would have triggered accounting office approval.

Some invoices were made only a few days apart, according to evidence presented to the jury.

State prosecutor Mark Denney provided a spreadsheet of payments made to My Campaign Group that showed payments of $4,500 and $4,975 made within one month’s time. “Those two would have gone out in payment together. They would have been paid out together,” Cole said.

Money was taken out of the general fund and contracting services to pay the invoices, she said.

In one instance, a payment request for more than $5,000 to My Campaign Group was rejected, but later approved when the dollar amount was decreased to under $5,000, Cole said.

Another payment was made with a state purchasing card to cover an invoice, according to documents presented.

McGuiness faces charges of felony theft, intimidation, conflict of interest, official misconduct, and violating the state’s procurement system.

The trial will continue Thursday, June 16, in Kent County Superior Court.


Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter