Those among us with an interest in the law have been fascinated by the twists and turns in the case of State Auditor Kathy McGuiness.
Defense attorney Steven Wood – in a move straight out of a TV legal drama – waited in the weeds and on the day of the trial claimed the Wilmington location was a mistake.
According to media accounts, Wood argued that the alleged offenses which included employee intimidation and hiring her daughter for a no-work job while going to school out of state occurred at the auditor’s office in Dover. Wood further argued that the trial should be held in Kent County, although he would have preferred a dismissal on technical grounds.
Superior Court Judge William Carpenter agreed, citing legal precedent. The state had no choice but to drop the charges and attempt to refile the case in Dover.
It is clear that Wood out-lawyered the state in a case with the potential to drag on into election season with McGuiness remaining on the ballot. She firmly rejected calls to take a leave of absence, despite the shadow it casts over the work of the auditor’s office.
State Attorney General Kathy Jennings is taking heat for her handling of the case from her GOP opponent and Seaford lawyer Julianne Murray.
Murray may have been the first candidate to sue a sitting governor while running for the same office. Her campaign appeared to be spurred by Covid restrictions that affected her coastal rental property. She lost by a lopsided margin.
Murray is now making a bid for AG, with Jennings formally announcing a bid for a second term on Thursday.
While there is entertainment value in watching this case, none of this is good news when it comes to the need for a verdict.
In the court of public opinion, McGuiness has not proven her innocence. All we know so far is that she hired a great lawyer. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.