A federal judge on Thursday postponed the criminal trial of the former chief of staff to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Roy McGrath, who is charged with wire fraud, theft and falsifying records.

McGrath was scheduled to stand trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore starting on Monday; a new trial date hasn’t been set, but is likely to be in early 2023.

McGrath’s attorney had asked for the delay after receiving thousands of pages of emails, text messages and other material from prosecutors in the last couple of weeks as part of the discovery process. The attorney, Joseph Murtha, said he couldn’t possibly review the new material and prepare for the trial at the same time.

“I’m just literally hobbled at this time to effectively represent Mr. McGrath if forced to go to trial with this amount of information that has been recently disclosed,” Murtha said during a 20-minute teleconference Thursday.

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U.S. District Judge Deborah L. Boardman quizzed prosecutors about the evidence.

“I’m just not understanding why this is all so late,” Boardman said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joyce McDonald said prosecutors had only recently received the material themselves, and she argued that much of the new evidence was repetitive, and therefore not as voluminous as it may appear.

“We have tried hard to produce everything and to explain to the court the nature of what has been produced,” McDonald said.

McGrath is facing five counts of wire fraud, two counts of theft in programs receiving federal funds and one count of falsifying records in a federal investigation. The charges relate to his conduct leading the Maryland Environmental Service and a “severance” payout he negotiated when he left the service in 2020 to join Hogan’s office as chief of staff.

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McGrath received a lump-sum payout of one year’s salary, more than $233,000, when he left the environmental service, an independent state agency that carries out public works and environmental projects.

Prosecutors have alleged that McGrath misled environmental service officials into believing that the governor approved the severance payment; Hogan has said he did not know about it.

Hogan is expected to be called as a witness in the trial.

Prosecutors also allege that McGrath falsified a memo that he circulated to reporters as proof that Hogan had signed off on the severance. The governor’s team has said that document was faked.

The charges also involve allegations that McGrath was paid for working at the environmental service when he was really on vacation, and that he misused money to pay for a donation to an Eastern Shore art museum and for an online training course through Harvard University.

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McGrath also is awaiting a related criminal trial in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. That trial involves charges that McGrath improperly recorded meetings and conversations with the governor and other top officials in violation of the state’s wiretapping laws.

pamela.wood@thebaltimorebanner.com

Pamela Wood covers Maryland politics and government. She previously reported for The Baltimore Sun, The Capital and other Maryland newspapers. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, she lives in northern Anne Arundel County.

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