Local Politics

Wright's Defense Again Plays Race Card

Posted March 4, 2008

A defense attorney for embattled state Rep. Thomas Wright continued to argue Tuesday that an ethics hearing for the lawmaker was racially biased.

Wright, D-New Hanover, is accused of mishandling more than $350,000 in campaign contributions, loans and charitable donations.

Defense attorney Douglas Harris on Tuesday filed a motion for state Rep. Rick Glazier to step down as chairman of the Legislative Ethics Committee, alleging he's prejudiced against Wright, who is black.

Harris contended that Glazier, D-Cumberland, dropped an ethics complaint against a white lawmaker last year while pressing forward with Wright's hearing.

"If you vote in this fashion, this will be a tainted decision that's embarrassing. It will be a decision that makes us look like racists, (and) we are not," Harris said.

Glazier called the motion “abhorrent and frivolous,” saying the two cases were completely different.

Harris also cited the case against state Rep. Pryor Gibson, D-Anson, on Monday. He called Wright's hearing a "Jim Crow proceeding" and said the committee was guilty of selective prosecution.

The allegation against Gibson, which was dismissed, involved a procedural matter over the filing of a bill.

Deputy Attorney General Bill Hart argued Tuesday that the cases have no similarities. Namely, various investigative groups found Wright committed crimes.

"All this is is a bald allegation of race without any facts to support it," Hart said.

After an impassioned response from Glazier, the committee denied Harris' motion and continued with the hearing.

"I find in this case that the filing of this motion was patently without a good-faith basis in law and, in my opinion, beneath the dignity of those who raise it," Glazier said.

Wright, who has refused calls to resign, also faces criminal charges in the case, stemming from the following allegations:

  • not reporting $185,000 in campaign contributions
  • using his position to influence a state official to write a letter to help him obtain a $150,000 loan for a real estate deal in Wilmington
  • diverting almost $19,000 in contributions and loans into his personal accounts when they were supposed to go to a nonprofit organization he directs

The ethics committee could recommend that the full House vote to censure or expel Wright. The General Assembly hasn't removed a lawmaker since the 1880s.

36 Comments

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  • Politically Honest NOT PC Mar 4, 2008

    "It will take a few generations of people of color in office to offset this racist mind set white people have." Ever wonder just why White People have a racist mindset? I mean, look who owns the race card!

  • empowered activist Mar 4, 2008

    I hope Obama is watching this...its a sign of things to come. It will take a few generations of people of color in office to offset this racist mind set white people have.

  • Garden Guy Mar 4, 2008

    playing the race card, anyone surprised?!!!!!!!!!

  • daMoFo Mar 4, 2008

    "The race issue is old news, he needs to find some original material, like mabey that satan told him to do it or even a barking dog made him do it. Please anything but racisum it gets old."

    HAHAHAHA...that is A++ funny!!!

  • Politically Honest NOT PC Mar 4, 2008

    race,race,race, why can't he just be a man and own up to his wrongdoings?

  • whatusay Mar 4, 2008

    Glazier should advise Harris that if proceeds with a "racial biased defense" he will be held in contempt and put in jail. Either represent your defendant or shut up and plead guilty, or try to get a plea bargain. Glazier is dropping the ball here.

  • newtodurham Mar 4, 2008

    Everyone that plays into this biased race baiting "article" enjoy; but look who you agree with.(see last commenter)

  • Redneck_Bob Mar 4, 2008

    The race card in justice must be like the joker in a standard deck of cards. It is just about as funny.

  • crckttsgr Mar 4, 2008

    Oh what a shock. Who didn't see this one coming? I'm only surprised that it has taken this long. This has been one arrogant man from the beginning. Its a tragedy that it has become such an everyday occurance, that the race card is played in last ditch, desperate attempts. It really damages the credibilty of those who really have been victims of racism. And I'm not just talking about white on black racism, I'm talking about ALL racism. Yes folks, it really does happen to ALL races, not just one.

  • Redneck_Bob Mar 4, 2008

    Can someone answer a question that has been bothering me for some time? Why is it that whenever a black person gets caught redhanded doing something wrong and it is obviously his/her fault, and they get prosecuted, it is a race issue? However, let a white person get caught redhanded doing the same thing and it is too bad Charley?

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