Durham, N.C. — Embattled Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline has hired a Pinehurst law firm as she tries to fend off an effort to remove her from office, and the lawyers have asked for a delay in the case.
Defense attorney Kerry Sutton filed an affidavit last month that alleges Cline has "brought the office of the Durham County District Attorney and the entire Durham County justice system into disrepute."
Cline has repeatedly accused Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson in recent months of bias against her and has asked to have him barred from handling criminal cases in Durham County. Two other Superior Court judges have found Cline's complaints to be groundless.
Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood suspended Cline with pay last month, saying there was probable cause to support Sutton's claims. A hearing was supposed to be held on the issue Monday, but Hobgood delayed it until next week because Cline is recovering from pneumonia.
On Wednesday, she hired the firm of Van Camp, Meacham & Newman to represent her in the case. She earlier said she was having trouble finding an attorney who didn't have a conflict of interest because of ties to parties in the case or potential witnesses.
James Van Camp has asked Hobgood for a Friday hearing to request another delay in the case so he can have time to prepare a defense for Cline.
"Because this case is both unique and special and because of the dramatic, personal tensions inherent to the allegations set for in the affidavit, an unnecessarily expedient hearing can only risk Ms. Cline being merely prepared to offer a mercurial defense based on emotion rather than a calm, rational defense based on facts," Van Camp wrote in his motion.