June 29, 2022

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A former leader of personnel to Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness admitted throughout testimony in her legal corruption trial Thursday that he lied beneath oath to a grand jury that was once investigating McGuiness.

Thomas Van Horn stated beneath cross-examination through the protection that he instructed the grand jury in April 2021 that McGuiness had fired him a month previous as a result of “disagreements” that they had.

Actually, McGuiness requested Van Horn to surrender as a result of he were in a sexual courting with a subordinate staffer.

Van Horn additionally stated that he by no means volunteered knowledge to prosecutors and investigators about his courting with Rachel King, who additionally is predicted to testify. As a substitute, he claimed that he was once terminated as a result of McGuiness had heard a “attainable rumor of a sexual courting” with any person within the place of work, and that he may well be a sufferer of “defamation.”

“While you mentioned it was once a rumor, that was once a lie, as it was once a real tale, wasn’t it?” protection legal professional Steve Wooden requested Van Horn.

“Sure,” spoke back Van Horn, who moments later contradicted himself and denied any sexual courting.

“What’s the definition of a sexual courting?” requested Van Horn, who in previous testimony agreed with prosecutor Mark Denney that his former courting with King might be described as “romantic.” In a recorded interview previous this yr, he instructed Denney that he and King “made out right here and there” however by no means had a sexual courting.

Wooden’s cross-examination got here after the pass judgement on, out of doors the jury’s presence, held an extended non-public dialog with legal professionals sooner than reminding Van Horn that he was once beneath oath and required to inform the reality.

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“I guarantee you sir you do not need to clutter with this pass judgement on in case you’re mendacity,” Chippie instructed Van Horn sternly.

McGuiness, a Democrat elected in 2018, is accountable as state auditor for rooting out govt fraud, waste and abuse. She is being attempted on legal counts of robbery and witness intimidation, and misdemeanor fees of reputable misconduct, warfare of hobby and noncompliance with procurement rules.

Prosecutors allege, amongst different issues, that McGuiness employed her daughter and her very best pal as brief staff in 2020, despite the fact that different brief staff had left as a result of the loss of to be had paintings amid the coronavirus pandemic. Government allege that during hiring her daughter and exercising keep watch over over taxpayer cash with which she was once paid, McGuiness engaged in robbery of state cash and warfare of hobby.

Prosecutors even have alleged that McGuiness orchestrated a no-bid “communications services and products” contract for My Marketing campaign Workforce, a company she had used as a marketing campaign marketing consultant when operating for lieutenant governor in 2016. Additionally they contend that she intentionally saved the contract bills beneath $5,000 every to keep away from having to get them authorized through the state Department of Accounting. The landlord of My Marketing campaign Workforce, Christie Gross, effectively bid on a 2nd contract after forming a brand new corporate known as Innovate Consulting. Gross has testified that McGuiness by no means instructed her to put up a invoice for not up to $5,000. She additionally described the auditor’s place of work as a “crisis” that “lacked professionalism,” and testified that she had prompt McGuiness to fireplace Van Horn right away after studying about his courting with King.

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Within the fall of 2020, Van Horn approached deputy legal professional normal Patricia Davis, who was once assigned to the auditor’s place of work, with issues about how the place of work was once being run. Davis prompt that he name Frank Robinson, an investigator with the Department of Civil Rights and Public Agree with.

Van Horn mentioned he approached Davis after McGuiness instructed him to make use of his state bank card to repay the late ultimate steadiness at the My Marketing campaign Workforce contract, which had exceeded the preliminary price range allocation of $45,000. Van Horn mentioned McGuiness stood over his shoulder whilst he made the Pay Friend transaction, making him “uncomfortable.”

In a November 2020 name with Robinson, alternatively, Van Horn by no means discussed the bank card incident. He as an alternative made obscure references to contracts entered into through McGuiness with a “political individual” and complained that the place of work was once enterprise numerous “particular experiences” on coverage problems that had been removing from auditing paintings it’s required to do.

He additionally complained to Robinson {that a} request for proposals that ended in Gross effectively bidding at the contract awarded to Innovate was once drawn up through a tender staffer, moderately than a veteran staffer who generally treated such tasks. Van Horn testified Thursday that he was once confused through McGuiness’ government assistant to attain Gross’ bid upper than some other company’s competing bid, however he by no means discussed that during his name to Robinson.

Van Horn additionally testified that he by no means interviewed McGuiness’ daughter, Elizabeth, for the part-time task she started in Would possibly 2020, contradicting the daughter’s testimony from Wednesday.

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Testimony resumes Friday.