McDonald drops defamation suit against Supervisor Sayre


Sayre's defamation suit against McDonald is still set for September 11

FRONT ROYAL, Va. (WDVM) — The former director of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority has dropped a civil suit against a county supervisor.

Jennifer McDonald, who faces 17 felony charges for embezzlement and fraud relating to the EDA, has withdrawn her defamation suit against Supervisor Tom Sayre, who represents the Shenandoah District.

McDonald initially sued Sayre in February, after Sayre had filed his own defamation suit against McDonald several months prior. Both suits stem from a 2017 incident in which someone allegedly threw a rock through a window of McDonald’s home. McDonald claimed Sayre was behind the act, an accusation he denies.

According to Sayre’s attorney, Margaret “Peggy” Ward, McDonald exercised her right to nonsuit, a statute that Ward says every plaintiff can do once in Virginia. She’s not sure why McDonald chose to voluntarily withdraw the case, but has a hunch.

“My best guess is that I had asked for Ms. McDonald’s deposition in her case–that is a standard part of the discovery process and she’s required to give me a deposition,” Ward said. “She would be pleading the 5th and her right to not incriminate herself in response to questions I asked her” pertaining to McDonald’s ongoing criminal case.

Although McDonald has dropped her suit, the matter isn’t settled quite yet. Not only does McDonald have the right to re-file the lawsuit within six months, but Sayre has his own case against her.

“I’m the first person to get her to concede in court,” Sayre said. “However I have a September 11 final hearing coming up and we’ll see what happens.”

McDonald’s attorney has not yet returned WDVM’s request for comment.

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