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State Auditor Kathy McGuiness heads to trial next week, will not have the third count dismissed

Delaware Public Media

A judge will not throw out one of the charges state auditor Kathy McGuiness faces.

McGuiness failed to get a misdemeanor charge for non-compliance with procurement law dismissed, but prosecutors will not be able to use any documents obtained from a search warrant executed last September.

They will have to obtain documentation from other sources, since the auditor’s office is a state office.

McGuiness’ defense attorney Steven Wood claimed Tuesday the state’s indictment against the auditor is “mush” and the investigation that led to it is “shoddy.”

Wood claimed last month that the third charge listed in the indictment, a misdemeanor for non-compliance with procurement law, is unclear about which of McGuiness’ actions are in violation.

The indictment alleges invoices were split up into payments less than $5,000 to get out of needing approval from the Division of Accounting. However, according to evidence presented, Wood says a payment amount of $9375 was reviewed and approved, and the spreadsheets indicated the payment was from two different sources.

Wood argues that Chief Special Investigator for the state Frank Robinson, who took the stand at the hearing Tuesday, knowingly wrote the search warrant on that information, which he knew at the time to be false.

Other payments ultimately put the amount paid out over the original contract amount, which the state argues McGuiness did to avoid a public bid on the contract, but is not listed in the indictment as a crime.

Ultimately, Judge William Carpenter ruled the count will go to trial, which is scheduled to begin on May 31, and the state must prove that payments were knowingly split, and are violations of state code.