Local News

Phipps Settles In To Wake County Jail

Posted November 1, 2003

— There will be no quick release from jail for a former elected official.

Meg Scott Phipps remains locked up in the Wake County jail while she awaits sentencing for charges connected to her campaign finance scandal.

Phipps has gone from state agriculture commissioner to inmate ID number 241-285. She is housed on the seventh floor of the Wake County jail. The setting is a far cry from Phipps' home in Haw River.

The daughter and granddaughter of governors now sleeps in Yellow Pod cell 717. She has a bed, a window, a table, a stainless-steel sink and toilet.

Following the jury's verdict Thursday that Phipps was guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice, Judge Don Stephens sent her to jail with a stern lecture.

Now, from 6 a.m. to midnight, Phipps shares a cold, concrete-and-steel common area with 28 other women. They include an accused armed robber, credit-card thief and cocaine dealer.

"They watch TV," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said. "And, of course, the jailhouse has a way of getting word around to all the pods. So they know she's here, and they're going to treat her like they would anyone else, and she's mingling in well. I understand she's talking to the population -- no problems whatsoever."

Like all inmates, Phipps gets 30 minutes of visitation one time a week with two family members or friends. Each of those visits will be non-contact, through glass.

"Yes, we keep it clean," Harrison said. "We have TV for them to watch. They have books for them to read. But, I don't want to be confined in a jail. And I'm sure she doesn't, either."

So far, Phipps' attorneys have not filed any motions to get her out of jail before her Nov. 12 sentencing.

Following her conviction in state court, the pressure is building for Phipps to try and work out a plea agreement before her federal trial. Her attorneys say they are considering all options.

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