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Defense mulls motion to dismiss state charges

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT
Rita Crundwell

DIXON – The attorney representing former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell in her state theft case is considering filing a motion to get those charges dropped.

Lee County Public Defender Bob Thompson asked Lee County Judge Ron Jacobson for a “reasonable extension of time” so Thompson can determine whether he has grounds to file such a motion.

The judge likely will give him a deadline at a pretrial hearing Wednesday.

Crundwell, 59, was indicted Sept. 20 on 60 counts of theft of government property in excess of $100,000. She is accused of stealing more than $11 million from the city between January 2010 and April, when she was arrested.

She faces 6 to 30 years in prison on each count.

She already has pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud, admitting she stole nearly $54 million from the city over more than two decades. She will be sentenced Feb. 14 and faces up to 20 years in prison.

According to state law, a person cannot be prosecuted for an offense for which he or she already has been found guilty.

Although theft and wire fraud are different charges, as part of her federal plea agreement, Crundwell admitted to stealing the city’s money “from as early as” Dec. 18, 1990, until April 17, the day she was arrested at City Hall.

That plea agreement includes “acts and dates” also contained in the Lee County indictment, Thompson said, so the state charges may constitute double jeopardy.

It would be “premature” to file a motion to dismiss until Crundwell’s federal case is fully resolved, Thomson said, but he also doesn’t want to miss any deadline to file such a motion, which is why he is formally asking the judge for an extension.

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