Update: Judge Upholds 2 Guilty Verdicts Against Del. Auditor McGuiness, Denies New Trial; Candidates React
Update: Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness authorized attorney Steve Wood to release the following statement:
We are gratified that, together, the jury and the Court have now correctly acquitted Kathy McGuiness of three of the five charges that the State brought against her.
The Structuring charge has always been nonsense. We are thankful that the Court has finally put an end to the State’s baseless attempt to find a crime where none was committed.
We are disappointed by the Court’s decision not to acquit Ms. McGuiness of the two charges that relate to the hiring of her daughter as a casual-seasonal employee. The State was required to prove at trial that Ms. McGuiness’s daughter received benefits not available to other casual-seasonal employees at the Auditor’s Office. The State failed to do so. Ms. McGuiness’s daughter did the same work as the other college interns, was paid the same or less as the other college interns and was not the only college intern who was permitted to work remotely while at school.
Delaware law does not prohibit the hiring of close relatives. The practice is common throughout State government, and there are at least four current members of the General Assembly whose children work at Legislative Hall.
Once sentenced, Ms. McGuiness intends to appeal her conviction to the Delaware Supreme Court, where we will point out the legal and factual errors that led to her being wrongly convicted for a crime that she did not commit.
Nearly two months after the trial of Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness ended with a jury finding her guilty of conflict of interest, structuring and official misconduct, a judge has tossed the structuring decision but upheld the two others.
Also, Judge William Carpenter in a ruling Tuesday denied a motion from McGuiness for a new trial. At the trial, McGuiness was acquitted of two felony offenses.
McGuiness, a Democrat who previously served as a Rehoboth Beach Commissioner, has been campaigning for re-election. She faces Lydia York in the Democratic Primary Tuesday, September 13th.
York released this statement late Tuesday:
“The decision to convict Mrs. McGuinness for crimes committed in the course of her duties as the Auditor of Accounts show plainly that she cannot continue serving as an elected official. The people of Delaware deserve leaders who can be trusted to always do the right thing and to follow the letter of the law. The current Auditor has done the opposite.
“I have faith in the people of Delaware. I trusted a jury of Delawareans when they found the Auditor guilty of crimes. I trust that the electorate of the Democratic Party will see fit to remove her from office if she does not go of her own accord. I am a lifelong Democrat and I believe that we should clean up our own house. I believe that Delaware Democrats will do just that on September 13th.”
A statement was released Tuesday by Senate President Pro Tempore David Sokola, D-Newark, Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend, D- Newark / Bear and Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, D-Wilmington:
“As leaders of the Delaware Senate, we called on Auditor Kathy McGuiness to resign when she was first indicted on multiple criminal charges in late 2021. We again called on her to resign when she was found guilty of those crimes by a jury of her peers.
After she repeatedly refused to put the public’s interests ahead of her own, we held a special session where the Senate voted to call on Governor John Carney and our colleagues in the House to begin removal proceedings, a Constitutional power granted to the General Assembly that was dismissed as political theater.
Delawareans have had enough.
Now that she has been tried and convicted of multiple crimes and her request for a new trial has been denied, Kathy McGuiness owes it to the people of Delaware to do what is right and step down before she is forced out of the elected office that the Attorney General, a jury and a Superior Court judge all agree she used to violate the public’s trust.”
(This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.)