Local News

Convicted in job scheme, former Person DA now subject of bribery investigation

Posted July 9, 2019 3:39 p.m. EDT
Updated July 9, 2019 7:09 p.m. EDT

— Former Person County District Attorney Wallace Bradsher is the focus of a bribery investigation involving a suspected drug dealer and a winning lottery ticket, authorities said Tuesday.

Bradsher, who resigned two years ago amid a state investigation into a no-show job he offered to a colleague's wife, is accused of dropping drug charges against a man in exchange for money weeks before he left office.

The State Bureau of Investigation obtained a search warrant last December to obtain records from the North Carolina Education Lottery regarding a winning scratch-off ticket Bettie Yarboro Jackson cashed in in May 2015 for $150,000.

In the application for the warrant, which was only recently unsealed, an SBI investigator said Jackson's son, Ephrian Brent Yarboro, faced opium trafficking and other drug charges in Person County when Bradsher suddenly dismissed them in March 2017.

County jail staffers said Bradsher pulled Yarboro from his cell and talked with him privately, and Yarboro later bragged that "he beat his drug case" after the meeting, according to the warrant application. Yarboro's attorney wasn't informed of the meeting, and Person County deputies were consulted before the charges were dropped, the application states.

On the dismissal form filed with the court, Bradsher wrote, "Pending further review, Defendant pulling an Active Sentence," the application states.

Before Yarboro was released from jail, deputies recorded a phone call from his mother in which she said Bradsher went to her office in Roxboro and showed her the dismissal form.

"[T]here is probable cause to show lottery proceeds from Bettie Yarboro Jackson were used in part as a possible payment to DA Bradsher resulting in the dismissals of drug charges against Ephrian Brent Yarboro," the investigator wrote in the warrant application.

Vance County District Attorney Mike Waters confirmed Tuesday that his office is overseeing an ongoing SBI investigation into Bradsher and Yarboro, but no charges have been filed.

The drug charges have been reinstated against Yarboro, however, according to court records.

Waters declined further comment.

Bradsher couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

Last year, he was disbarred and served five months behind bars after being found guilty of obtaining property by false pretense, aiding and abetting obtaining property by false pretense, two counts of obstruction of justice and failure to discharge the duties of his office.

Former Rockingham County District Attorney Craig Blitzer testified that he and Bradsher agreed in early 2015 to hire each other's wives to get around state ethics rules against prosecutors hiring spouses. He said Bradsher encouraged Cindy Blitzer to focus on her classes as she worked to complete her nursing degree.

Cindy Blitzer said Bradsher was aware that she wasn't doing any work for months but was still getting paid. Bradsher, who represented himself during a two-week trial, called the lack of oversight "an administrative failure" that didn't rise to the level of a crime.