State Auditor Kathleen McGuiness’ request to dismiss the criminal intimidation charge she faces was denied on Monday.
McGuiness is under indictment on a series of felony and misdemeanor charges alleging conflict of interest, theft, breach of government procurement law, official misconduct and intimidation of witnesses.
In April, the auditor’s lawyer argued the acts of intimidation occurred before McGuiness learned of the investigation. Because she didn’t know she was under investigation, there would have been no way for her to intimidate a witness, her attorney argued.
The state argued that McGuiness’ knowledge of an active investigation was irrelevant. Her actions still qualify as witness intimidation if she believes they could potentially influence a witness in a future investigation or trial, even if she had no knowledge of it at the time.
McGuiness attorney Steve Wood asked Delaware Superior Court Judge William Carpenter to dismiss the charge on April 7.
RELATED: McGuiness awaits decision on dismissal of charge, trial date
In his May 2 decision, Carpenter said that while the court disagrees with the state’s position on what is necessary to establish the offense, he believes the indictment is sufficient. to allow him to proceed to trial.
“In any event, the Court is satisfied that Count Five is sufficiently drafted to enable it to proceed,” the ruling reads. “While it clearly could have been drafted with greater clarity, the Court is satisfied that the Defendant has received sufficient information to enable it to defend the allegation and that such information would preclude future prosecution for this conduct.”
A trial date is currently set for the end of May, but at the April hearing, Carpenter said he did not think a trial in May would give either side, or in court, the time to prepare properly.
If Carpenter moves it, he said it would probably be held in late summer or early fall, but he hasn’t decided.
If moved, the trial could take place just weeks after the Sept. 13 state primary election. McGuiness said she plans to run for a second term.
RELATED: McGuiness pleads not guilty; bond set at $50,000
Click here to read the full court decision.
Charlie Megginson covers government and politics for Town Square LIVE News. Contact him at (302) 344-8293 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @cmegginson4.