Ex-DAs face off in court during wife-hiring scheme trial
As one former state prosecutor defended himself against criminal charges Monday, a fellow former prosecutor served as the star witness against him.Posted — Updated
Wallace Bradsher, who resigned a year ago as district attorney of Person and Caswell counties, faces charges of felony conspiracy, obtaining property by false pretense, aiding and abetting obstruction of justice and failure to discharge duties.
Former Rockingham County District Attorney Craig Blitzer took the stand during the first day of Bradsher's trial to lay out their agreement to hire each other's wives to get around state ethics rules against prosecutors hiring relatives.
Cindy Blitzer wound up working out of her husband's office because there was no space for her at the Caswell County Courthouse and he had a desk and computer she could use. She even worked on a Rockingham County child homicide case that Bradsher had taken over because Craig Blitzer had a conflict with it from his days as a defense attorney.
After a few months, Bradsher snapped up all of the files in that case, however, leaving Cindy Blitzer with nothing to do, Craig Blitzer testified.
When Pam Bradsher decided to leave Blitzer's office in the summer of 2015 for a better-paying job at Person Community College, Wallace Bradsher asked that Blitzer hire Tyler Henderson, who had been working in Bradsher's office.
"There was built in security when Pam Bradsher was working for me and my wife was working for Mr. Bradsher, but once Pam Bradsher resigned, there's not more security for Cindy Blitzer," Blitzer testified. "So, here's Tyler Henderson. Hire Tyler Henderson. Everybody stays where they're at, and nobody's rocking the boat."
Later on, when State Bureau of Investigation agents started looking into Cindy Blitzer's employment, Wallace Bradsher told her to start varying the hours she entered into the state payroll system, "not just eight, eight, eight five days a week," Craig Blitzer said.
Investigators determined that Pam Bradsher did the work she was paid to do but that Cindy Blitzer earned $48,000 from her no-show job.
His testimony is expected to continue Tuesday.
Bradsher, who is representing himself, spent much of Monday justifying his hiring of his wife, not Cindy Blitzer. Pam Bradsher worked for her husband for four years before the wife-swap arrangement.
"Pam Bradsher is not a nepotism, figurehead wife holding a slot just to get a salary," he told jurors in his opening statement. "She is an essential part of a team."
Margaret Wiggins, a retired human resources chief at the state Administrative Office of the Courts, acknowledged that neither she nor her staff had informed district attorneys, including Bradsher, about the prohibition against employing spouses because they weren't aware of it until a few years ago.
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