McGuiness defense still pushing for sanctions against attorney general

By Craig Anderson
Posted 11/1/21

WILMINGTON — In a response to a response, the defense counsel for indicted State Auditor Kathy McGuiness renewed a push to have Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings sanctioned for …

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McGuiness defense still pushing for sanctions against attorney general

Posted

WILMINGTON — In a response to a response, the defense counsel for indicted State Auditor Kathy McGuiness renewed a push to have Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings sanctioned for comments made following a grand jury’s decision on Oct. 11.

On Oct. 14, the defense had filed an application to the court seeking sanctions. The AG’s office responded on Oct. 22, maintaining that Ms. Jennings made an accurate procedural statement in response to a media question, along with a supposed “extra judicial” statement that was repeated, verbatim, in a court filing.

Defense counsel Steve Wood responded on Oct. 22, pushing again for the Court to place a ban on public comment from the AG’s office and a finding that certain statements made by Ms. Jennings violated the Delaware Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct (DLRPC).

The state auditor was charged with theft and act of intimidation felonies, along with conflict of interest: violation of the state officials’ code of conduct, structuring: non-compliance with procurement law, and official misconduct misdemeanors. She pleaded not guilty to all charges and remains in elected office.

The defense opined that “Though the state concedes that the improper statement was made it makes no effort to explain how the statement was not made in violation except to argue that ‘the unique circumstance of a criminal action against a statewide official’ somehow justify less adherence to DLRPC.”

According to the defense, “The State appears to be arguing that the Defendant is not entitled to the same professional safeguards that are afforded to other defendants because she is a statewide official.”

Continuing on, the defense deemed the notion as “flatly untenable” and not supported within the DLRPC.

Speaking before media outside the Leonard L. Williams Justice Center in Wilmington on Oct. 11, Ms. Jennings said, “Look, I have not spoken to the defendant, and that has been deliberate. I can tell you that the Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust has reached out to the auditor on several occasions, and she has declined to speak with them.

Along with the request to deny the motion to sanction Ms. Jennings, Deputy Attorney General Mark A. Denney Jr. requested that Superior Court limit pretrial publicity for all parties.

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