Jennifer McDonald sentencing is ongoing

Warren County Virginia new logo used by permission by Warren County Director of Technology Todd Jones

Jennifer McDonald’s sentencing is an ongoing procedure due to attorneys on both sides requesting additional time for last-minute filings.

McDonald’s lawyers asked for a hearing on evidence the government planned to present April 9 as opposed to sentencing.

An email from Public Affairs Specialist for the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Virginia Brian P. McGinn confirmed that Judge Elizabeth Dillion heard more witness testimony and reviewed additional evidence on April 9.

McGinn stated in the email that a second possible third part of the hearing to finish sentencing has yet to be scheduled but is forthcoming.

The former executive director of the Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority was found guilty by a jury of 34 federal charges on November 1.

McDonald was previously set for sentencing on February 12 but that was delayed largely due to health issues.

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McDonald sees four charges overturned; request for new trial denied

Jennifer McDonald, former executive director of Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority, had four of her charges overturned but still faces 30 other charges including money laundering, wire fraud, bank fraud, and identity theft.

In an issued memorandum of opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Dillon in Harrisonburg also denied McDonald’s request for a new trial according to a report from WSVA.

McDonald was originally convicted on November 1st by a federal jury for stealing over $5 million from the EDA between July of 2014 and March of 2018.

Her sentencing date is set for February 12th.

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Former EDA Director Jennifer McDonald’s sentencing hearing is set

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Documents from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia confirm that the sentencing hearing for Jennifer R. McDonald is February 12 at 10 a.m.

The former Executive Director of the Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA) was found guilty by a jury on 34 charges that include money laundering, bank and wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft on November 1 in Harrisonburg.

McDonald’s attorneys have refiled for an acquittal of some of those charges and once again have asked for a new trial.

McDonald’s lawyers attempted the same during the original trial but were denied by presiding Judge Dillion.

The attorneys for McDonald argue that a witness with information about a hush fund being offered to keep the defendant from exposing sexual harassment was not allowed to testify.

A decision on both an acquittal and a new trial is expected to be filed by the prosecuting federal government at a later date.

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Front Royal issues update on litigation with EDA

The Town of Front Royal provided an update regarding the ongoing litigation with the Front Royal- Warren County Economic Development Authority.

Earlier this year, the Town intensified its efforts to settle the litigation between the parties.

The Mayor, EDA Chair and financial teams established a timeline to address and resolve all outstanding claims.

The process was intricate due to missing documents attributed to the misconduct of former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald and the lack of required EDA audits.

Legal proceedings flowing from the situation have been ongoing for years and led to substantial costs shouldered by town and county residents.

In an effort to prevent further financial strain, the town has decided to nonsuit the lawsuit against the EDA.

The Town remains hopeful that this decision will lead to a constructive response from the EDA and acknowledges the various challenges remaining including unresolved Town of Front Royal interests in public trust properties, currently for sale, or under contract, and other projects.

To view the full press release from the Town of Front Royal, click here.

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Former EDA Director Jennifer McDonald found guilty on all counts

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United States District Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Chris Kavanaugh confirmed in an X post formerly Twitter that Jennifer McDonald was found guilty on all counts by a Federal Grand Jury.

After deliberating for approximately 4 hours the jury found the former Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Director guilty on all 34 counts.

In the United States Vs. McDonald, she was found guilty on 16 counts of money laundering, 10 counts of bank fraud, 7 counts of wire fraud and 1 count of aggravated identity theft.

Kavanaugh confirms that McDonald faces over 20 years in federal prison with a sentencing date still to be set.

During closing arguments at the trial in Harrisonburg McDonald’s lawyers stated that 5 million dollars of the funds were given to their client as hush money over sexual harassment claims.

Kavanaugh states that McDonald embezzled over $5 million for her own personal gain to pay off credit cards, invest in real estate, give to family members and gamble at casinos.

Kavanaugh notes that documents and signatures were forged, and funds manipulated by McDonald while she was director of the EDA from 2014 through to her resignation in 2018.

Click here for the complete X statement from attorney Chris Kavanaugh.

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Jennifer McDonald’s trial is delayed again

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In What court officials describe as unanticipated consequences the criminal trial of Jennifer McDonald has once again been delayed.

The criminal trial of the former Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Executive Director was projected to be a six weeklong jury trial that began August 21.

The trial is to resume this Thursday October 26 which takes it to over 10 weeks.

Previous delays have been due to everything from evidence review to COVID concerns to surgery recovery.

This latest delay is due to late evidence that was reportedly complicated by encryption issues.

Court officials project that only two days remain in the trial as there are only three witnesses remaining then the jury is expected to deliberate.

McDonald was once again absent from the court room October 23 and remains free on bond.

The former EDA director is being tried on over 30 charges that include bank fraud, money laundering and aggravated Identity theft.

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Jennifer McDonald’s trial has been delayed until October 23

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The Jennifer McDonald jury trial has been suspended until October 23.

Tuesday September 26 McDonald’s attorneys filed a motion to declare a mistrial which was denied by Judge Elizabeth Dillion.

The motion for a mistrial was due to the number of days lost due to what the court calls unexpected circumstances or health issues.

McDonald once again was not in court September 26 as she is recovering from surgery.

The trial began on August 21 in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg and was scheduled for 6 weeks.

Due to those unexpected circumstances or health issues, only 16 days of actual trial have taken place.

More than a week was lost due to someone involved in the trial having tested positive for COVID-19.

Prosecutors speculated just last week that their case would conclude with only one more witness to be called.

Then one possibly two witnesses for the defense to be called.

After that closing arguments and then jury deliberation were expected but continual delays have hampered the trial.

The motion for a mistrial was due to those delays possibly tainting the jury along with other concerns.

That mistrial motion was denied by Judge Dillion without prejudice.

Harrisonburg Reporter Mario Retrosi contributed to this article.

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Prosecution expects to wrap their case against McDonald this week

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Court documents from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia confirm that the jury was excused from the Jennifer McDonald trial on September 19.

Once again health issues appear to be the reason although officially listed as unexpected circumstances.

Four days of the trial were already canceled earlier in September due to someone involved in the trial testing positive for COVID-19.

During the absence of the jury and defendant time was spent by Judge Dillion and other court officials to review some court procedures.

Those procedures included final jury instruction and the need for a witness to return to court from her home in Virginia Beach.

Most of the 70 witnesses subpoenaed by the prosecution have already testified in the 15 days that have been held.

In fact, Federal prosecutors expect to wrap up their case either September 20 or 21 although documents show no court September 21 currently.

Jennifer McDonald, the former Executive Director of the Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority remains free on bond.

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Jennifer McDonald trial to begin Monday August 21

Despite an attempt to have the trial moved to a different location Jennifer R. McDonald’s trial will start Monday, August 21, 2023 in Harrisonburg.

According to court documents the criminal jury trial of the former Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Executive director will begin at 9 a.m. in Court Room 12.

The attempt to move the trial was to ensure fair jury selection.

McDonald’s attorneys believe that given publicity surrounding the case it will make a fair jury selection difficult, if not impossible.

To ensure a fair jury selection the presiding Judge Elizabeth Dillion excluded Warren County residents from the jury pool.

McDonald is facing over 30 charges of wire and bank fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.

McDonald resigned from her position as EDA director in 2018 and remains free on bond.

Barring a last-minute plea deal the projected six-week long trial will begin Monday with no remote access.

To view the proceedings you must attend the trial.

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Former EDA Executive Director pleads not guilty

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Former Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Executive Director Jennifer McDonald pleaded not guilty to the 34 federal charges brought against her.

The former Executive Director made the formal plea in her appearance virtually in U.S. District Court for the Western District.

This was McDonald’s first appearance since her Aug. 31 arrest.

Harrisonburg Judge Joel Hoppe set a November 3 trial date.

McDonald remains free on personal recognizance bond pending that Nov. 3 date.

McDonald’s court appointed attorney indicated a continuance would likely be sought at that court date.

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