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The state vs. Crundwell

DIXON – The attorney representing Rita Crundwell in her state theft case was given time to file a motion to dismiss those charges, if he finds he has grounds to do so.

At a hearing last week, Lee County Judge Ron Jacobson did not give public defender Bob Thompson a deadline to file.

Thompson has said it would be “premature” to make a decision whether to file such a motion until Crundwell’s federal case is fully resolved.

State’s Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller did not object to Thompson’s request. She declined to comment after the hearing.

Crundwell, 59, of Dixon has a March 4 status hearing. Thompson said if he files a motion to dismiss, he likely will do so before that hearing.

By that time, the ousted Dixon comptroller might be in federal prison – she is set to be sentenced for wire fraud on Feb. 14.

Crundwell admitted Nov. 14 she stole nearly $54 million from the city over 21 years. She faces up to 20 years in prison in the federal case.

In September, she also was indicted in Lee County on 60 counts of theft of government property in excess of $100,000. Those charges accuse her of taking more than $11 million from the city between January 2010 and April 16.

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, so the state charges may constitute double jeopardy, Thompson said.

Crundwell, dressed in a bright blue sweater, was accompanied to court Wednesday by her longtime boyfriend, Jim McKillips, and her federal defense attorney, Paul Gaziano.

Thompson also told Jacobson that he has received about 2,200 pages of discovery in the case and is awaiting more that the prosecution also may not yet have.

Some Dixon residents, including Mayor Jim Burke, attended the hearing. He would be disappointed if the state charges were dropped, he said.

“We’d like to have a little insurance ... so that the pain fits the offense.”

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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