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Crundwell pleads not guilty

Pre-trail hearing set for Dec. 19

DIXON — Former city Comptroller Rita Crundwell pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Lee County Court to 60 counts of felony theft.

Judge Ron Jacobson set a Dec. 18 pretrial hearing.

Public defender Robert Thompson waived the reading of the charges, however, Jacobson gave a synopsis: Each charges her with theft of more than $100,000 to a government body, each punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison.

The state accuses Crundwell of stealing more than $11 million from the city from January 2010 until April 16.

Jacobson said he has not decided whether she will face consecutive or concurrent sentences. Lee County State's Attorney Henry Dixon indicated that decision likely will come before the trial.

Crundwell, in a white turtleneck sweater and black pants, answered the judge's questions in a quiet voice.

Thompson said the next step in the case involves a sharing of discovery files. The prosecution must share with the defense its evidence and witnesses.

Crundwell, 59, also charged in federal court with wire fraud, has a Nov. 14 appearance in that case. Federal investigators accuse her of misappropriating $53 million in city funds over the last 22 years.

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