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State's attorney to hold news conference after Crundwell hearing

Published: Monday, April 29, 2013 5:10 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:38 a.m. CDT
Anna Sacco-Miller

DIXON – Lee County State's Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller will have a news conference today after a scheduled hearing in the Rita Crundwell case, she announced Monday.

At the hearing, Crundwell's attorney, Bob Thompson, is expected to argue that the state's theft case against the former Dixon city comptroller should be dismissed because it constitutes double jeopardy in light of her federal wire fraud conviction.

Sacco-Miller declined to say why she called the news conference. She has shown little enthusiasm for another prosecution of Crundwell and has expressed doubts about being able to seat a jury to hear the case in Lee County.

Crundwell, 60, is charged with 60 counts of theft in Lee County. Prosecutors say the former Dixon comptroller stole $11.3 million in city funds between Jan. 1, 2010, and April 17, 2012.

She pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud and was sentenced in February to 19 years, 7 months in prison. She is in custody at the Boone County Jail while awaiting assignment to a prison.

Crundwell is not expected to attend today's hearing, Thompson said. He declined further comment.

Although the state's theft charges are different from federal wire fraud, the facts are essentially the same. Crundwell admitted in the federal case to stealing nearly $54 million in city funds “from as early as” Dec. 18, 1990, until April 17, 2012, the day she was arrested at Dixon City Hall, Thompson wrote in his motion for dismissal.

Thompson argued that Crundwell’s plea agreement in the federal case included “acts and dates” also contained in the Lee County indictment.

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has a double jeopardy clause that prohibits the government from prosecuting a person more than once for the same crime, or from imposing more than one sentence.

Sacco-Miller has said that any sentence obtained from a state conviction likely would not lengthen Crundwell's prison term because it probably would be served concurrently with the federal penalty.

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