An ex-Maryland governor’s former political aide – who was wanted on corruption charges – died on Monday after he was wounded while being confronted by law enforcement agents, his lawyer said, following a manhunt that was launched when the man failed to appear for trial.
Roy McGrath’s death was confirmed by the FBI to attorney Joseph Murtha. Murtha added that it was not immediately clear if McGrath’s wound was self-inflicted or came during an exchange of gunfire with agents.
The FBI had said earlier that McGrath, once a top aide to ex-Maryland governor Larry Hogan, had been hospitalized after an agent-involved shooting. The FBI typically uses the term “agent-involved shooting” to describe cases where agents shoot someone in the line of duty, but the bureau declined to elaborate.
An attorney for McGrath’s wife, William Brennan, also confirmed the death. Brennan said his client, Laura Bruner, was “absolutely distraught” about her husband’s death.
According to an email earlier from Shayne Buchwald of the FBI in Maryland, McGrath was wounded during “an agent-involved shooting” at about 6.30pm in a commercial area on the south-western outskirts of Knoxville, Tennessee. Buchwald said McGrath was taken to a hospital.
Additional details, including how McGrath was wounded and what led up to it, were not immediately released. The shooting was under investigation late on Monday.
“The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or taskforce members seriously,” said Buchwald, who declined to confirm that McGrath had died.
McGrath, 53, served as chief of staff to Hogan. He was declared a wanted fugitive after failing to show up at a scheduled fraud trial last month, and the FBI has said he was considered an international flight risk.
In a statement, Hogan said he and his wife, Yumi, “are deeply saddened by this tragic situation. We are praying for Mr McGrath’s family and loved ones.”
Murtha called the death “a tragic ending to the past three weeks of uncertainty” and said his client always maintained his innocence.
After McGrath failed to appear at Baltimore’s federal courthouse on 13 March, Murtha said he believed McGrath, who had moved to Naples, Florida, was planning to fly to Maryland the night before. Instead of beginning jury selection, a judge issued an arrest warrant and dismissed prospective jurors.
McGrath was indicted in 2021 on accusations he fraudulently secured a $233,648 severance payment, equal to one year of salary as the head of Maryland’s environmental service, by falsely telling the agency’s board the governor had approved it. He was also accused of fraud and embezzlement connected to roughly $170,000 in expenses. McGrath pleaded not guilty.
McGrath resigned just 11 weeks into the job as Hogan’s chief of staff in 2020 after the payments became public.
If convicted of the federal charges, he would have faced a maximum sentence of 20 years for each of four counts of wire fraud, plus a maximum of 10 years for each of two counts of embezzling funds from an organization receiving more than $10,000 in federal benefits.
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