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Lawyer found guilty of stealing sign

November 07, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - A lawyer who took signs promoting a political rival vowed he would be back in court after the judge sided with the prosecution in a case involving the campaigns of two would-be Washington County State's Attorneys.

Visiting Judge Daniel W. Moylan told Gregory J. Hannigan he did not believe key testimony of a defense witness during Hannigan's trial on a theft charge Monday, and he found him guilty of stealing two two-sided political signs one day before September's primary election.

"Even if there were permission to remove the signs - and I'm not satisfied from the evidence there was - it would not be permission to take them and carry them away," Moylan said before sentencing Hannigan.

According to a charging document, Hannigan swapped signs for Gordon A. Lynn with one promoting Gregory C. Bannon. The campaign material cost $4.20, the document states.

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David Ray Moss, the assistant general manager of Gold's Gym, where the incident happened between 10 and 11 p.m. Sept. 11, testified he told Hannigan, who was not a candidate, he could post signs. He also said he told Hannigan he could take down signs of candidates who did not have permission.

Moylan said he did not believe that.

When Lynn confronted Hannigan outside Gold's Gym about the theft of signs, he did not deny it, argued Linda Thomas, a deputy Allegany County State's Attorney.

"I think certainly the fact that the defendant was confronted twice with the assertion, 'You stole my signs.' He never denied it," Thomas said.

A day after the incident, Bannon, of 8331 Old National Pike in Boonsboro, finished about 300 votes ahead of Lynn, of 13316 Fairfax Road in Hagerstown, in a three-way race for the Republican nomination to run for Washington County state's attorney.

Both men lost to Charles P. Strong, the current state's attorney. Voters will decide in today's general election between Strong and Democratic challenger Jerry Joyce.

After finding Hannigan guilty of theft of items worth less than $100, Moylan offered the Hagerstown attorney probation before judgment, but Hannigan said he would not admit guilt. Instead, Moylan ordered to pay a $500 fine and court costs.

Afterward, Hannigan vowed to appeal the case.

He said Lynn never had permission to post his signs at Gold's Gym.

"As I am not guilty, as I am totally innocent of this charge, I will be appealing it," Hannigan said.

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