Hogan’s Former Aide Pleads Not Guilty in Federal Court

Roy McGrath, then Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.'s chief of staff, at a conference call of the governor’s Cabinet in the Maryland State House in June 2020. Photo by the Executive Office of the Governor/Flickr.

Roy C. McGrath, the former chief of staff to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and ex-head of the Maryland Environmental Service, pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in federal court Friday afternoon.

McGrath requested a jury trial, which prosecutors estimate will take approximately two weeks to conduct. U.S. District Court of Maryland Judge J. Mark Coulson granted McGrath’s request, but there is no trial date set yet.

During the approximately three-minute virtual hearing, Joseph Murtha, McGrath’s attorney, said that there is a lot of evidence relating to the case that has yet to be revealed. 

“There’s a lot of info. that’s forthcoming,” Murtha told Coulson.

McGrath was charged with four counts of wire fraud and two counts of misappropriating government funds in a federal grand jury indictment filed in early October.

If convicted of the federal charges, McGrath is facing up to 20 years in prison for each of four counts of wire fraud; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for both counts of embezzling funds from an organization receiving more than $10,000 in federal benefits.

McGrath is up against another 27 charges, including nine counts of illegal wiretapping, 14 counts of misconduct in office, three counts of theft between $1,500 and $25,000, and one count of embezzlement for misappropriating state funds, in a separate case filed by the State Prosecutor’s Office in the Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County.

The state theft, embezzlement and illegal wiretapping charges carry maximum penalties of five years in prison. Misconduct in office is a common law offense with no set maximum penalty.

McGrath’s charges are rooted in a $233,647.23 severance package he sought when he voluntarily left the top job at the Maryland Environmental Service to serve as Hogan’s chief of staff.

According to court documents, prosecutors allege that McGrath clandestinely recorded phone calls between top government officials, falsely claimed work hours while vacationing, directed state funding to a Talbot County museum where he sat on the board and misrepresented the approval of his salary and severance package to Hogan and the board of directors for the Maryland Environmental Service.

Earlier this month, Hogan denied McGrath’s assertion that he approved the severance package.

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Hannah Gaskill
Hannah Gaskill received her master’s of journalism degree in December 2019 from the University of Maryland. She previously worked on the print layout design team at The Diamondback, reported on criminal justice in Maryland for Capital News Service and served as a production assistant for The Confluence — the daily news magazine on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR member station. Gaskill has had bylines in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, among other publications.Before pursuing journalism, she received her bachelor’s of fine art degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016. She grew up in Ocean City.