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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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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