The criminal trial of Melodie Gliniewicz, over the alleged misuse of charitable funds made to the Fox Lake Explorer Post 300, was delayed again, with no date set to reconvene.
A Nov. 27 status hearing, before Circuit Court Judge James Booras, ended in a concurrence that attorneys for the prosecution and defense are awaiting the outcome of an Illinois appellate hearing on the admissibility of texts and email correspondence between her, and her late husband, former Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Giniewicz.
Booras had previously barred the use of the communication by prosecutors, during a May 11 status hearing, citing spousal privilege and that the material could not be entered into the trial record as evidence against her. Lake County prosecutors have argued that the exemption has no bearing on the criminal case, as the privilege applied to current statements between spouses, and not communications already completed.
At that hearing, Booras said that the marital privilege law allows no exceptions for averred criminal activity between spouses, and the law is meant to preclude one testifying against the other, citing that “Courts, and law, have recognized (previously) that communications between a husband and wife (are) sacred and should be protected.”
Booras also denied a defense motion to dismiss all charges on the grounds of the allegations being vague and “non-specific” regarding the actual crimes committed, and violating her constitutional rights.
Gliniewicz, 52, was charged January 2016 with nine felony counts relating to the alleged misuse of funds for personal and business use with the program in collusion with her late husband. Nearly 65,000 text and email messages were recovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and discussions of the funds involving “Individual #1” and “Individual #2” were released, during a Nov. 4, 2015 press conference. Prosecutors have alleged Melodie Gliniewicz is “Individual #1.”
The bulk of the nine indictments facing Melodie Gliniewicz surround three counts of disbursing charitable funds without authority and for personal benefit (Class 2 felonies), one count of disbursing charitable funds without authority and for personal benefit (Class 3 felony), one count of money laundering (Class 2 felony), and one count of money laundering (Class 3 felony).
Gliniewicz’s attorney, Donald Morrison, stated in open court May 11 that “(She’s) not a signatory on any Fox Lake Explorer 300 accounts and had absolutely no control over funds of the explorer program.” He further indicated that her husband was the sole fiduciary agent for the post’s bank accounts, from 2009 through March 2015.
State’s Attorney’s Office investigators uncovered a bank transaction in March 2014 showing that Melodie Gliniewicz allegedly withdrew $7,000, from one explorer post account into her own account, and 14 days later, allegedly deposited a $7,000 check, from her account into a different explorer post bank account. The financial institution has yet to be questioned in court or named.
Joseph Gliniewicz called his dispatch on the morning of Sept. 1, 2015, to state he was in pursuit of three individuals, and was found 30 minutes later, shot to death in a thicket of marsh weeds. It triggered one of the most widespread manhunts by multiple-jurisdiction law enforcement agencies in Lake County history. Over the subsequent three-day period, an estimated of more than 400 personnel, with vast numbers of tactical equipment, combed the area. No cost estimate of the total expense outlay has yet to be calculated.
At the Nov. 4, 2015 press conference, the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, concluded that he had committed suicide and staged the scene to appear as a homicide.
The financial irregularities were uncovered by law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, using the communications and bank account records. Fox Lake Village Administrator Anne Marrin had been conducting a physical audit of the village’s assets, and requested records from Gliniewicz.
The trial’s resumption is expected to be months away, since prosecutors must submit their case at the appellate level and defense attorneys have a 30-day window to file a reply, before the high makes its deliberations.
—Gliniewicz trial delayed until appellate evidence decision–