A brutal morning for the state in its case against Auditor Kathy McGuiness flowed into the DOJ resting Tuesday afternoon, and both sides argued their reasoning for why presiding Judge William C. Carpenter Jr. should outright dismiss some of the charges brought by the Delaware Department of Justice.
Attorney General Kathy Jennings charged Auditor Kathy McGuiness with the following five charges, in this order: conflict of interest, felony theft, structuring, official misconduct, and felony act of intimidation. After the state rested its case, Department of Justice prosecutor Mark Denney and defense attorney Steven Wood had the opportunity to convince the judge too uphold or shoot down each of those charges on the basis of whether or not the state had proven its allegation.
While Carpenter explained prior to their arguments he was likely going to allow the jury to decide the first four counts, he was particularly interested in hearing arguments on count five, intimidation. Wood ultimately argued for the dismissal of all five charges, but after some back and forth between Denney and Wood over what McGuiness knew and when based on the evidence as it had been presented, Carpenter explained he’d allow the jury to receive the case and make their own decision, while reserving the right to intercede if they appear to have made an egregious error with which the court did not agree.
While the defense introduced their first witness during the morning’s proceedings, it was a courtesy as Andrea “Ann” Bayline wouldn’t have been able to appear otherwise. However, though Bayline walked the jury through her scoring of the Christie Gross-owned Innovate Consulting on a Request for Proposal presentation via her position as Chief Administrative Auditor–in which she scored Innovate Consulting higher than an alternative plan presented by another company–there was potential the testimony was a formality had Carpenter ruled to acquit McGuiness.
As that hadn’t happened, the defense called Amy Gulli to the stand, who had been working in the Pennsylvania Auditor General’s Office when she met McGuiness through her efforts to arrange an inter-state COVID-monitoring task force. Gulli, facing the end of her time in Pennsylvania because the auditor there had reached term limits, joined the Delaware Auditor’s office at $50-an-hour as casual seasonal employee. She eventually transitioned to full-time as a Deputy Auditor.
For continuing coverage of every development in the State v. Auditor Kathy McGuiness, find WDEL’s story collection here.
Detailing for the jury how she began to learn about the internal divide between auditors and administrators, Gulli said much of the petty squabbling and politicking between the front and back of the office–the auditors and administrators–was to the detriment of McGuiness’s efforts to improve what the Auditor’s Office was doing in the eyes of the public, she testified.
Gulli said Dan Hamilton buying lunch for a departing coworker was out of character for him, that he was disgruntled and combative, and that Laura Horsey’s school board members Zoom meeting comments for which she was reprimanded rose to the level of insubordination for breaking the unified front represented by the Auditor’s Office because she said she would “have reservations about signing the [Memorandum of Understanding.]”
She went so far as to say she was “flabbergasted” at Horsey’ interjection.
When Virginia Bateman received a call from Robinson, a flurry of activity was sparked, as she called both mother and daughter McGuiness to detail the call she received. After Robinson received a call from a blocked number later revealed through phone records to have been McGuiness’s personal phone, he also received a call from Amy Gulli, who he called back on a recorded line.
The jury heard that conversation, where she asked who he was and explained Bateman was concerned because she’d never heard of him and he had proprietary information about her employment. Denney, though, noted between when Robinson called her back, she put him on hold, and roughly a minute passed before she picked back up to speak with him. The prosecutor asked if she went to retrieve McGuiness. Gulli said she couldn’t recall speaking to anyone and sometimes it was tough to close her door.
To conduct some technical procedures as the courtroom prepares to host for a witness via Zoom, the day came to a close 10 minutes early at the culmination of Gulli’s testimony. Day 10 in the trial against Auditor Kathy McGuiness would resume Wednesday, with proceedings now in the hands of the defense.