Ex-lawmaker fights conviction
Posted May 21, 2009 5:54 p.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Lawyers for former Rep. Thomas Wright argued Thursday that his convictions last year on fraud and obstruction of justice charges were flawed and should be thrown out.
Wright, a Wilmington Democrat, is serving a 70- to 95-month prison term. Separate juries determined that he mishandled charity contributions, fraudulently obtained a loan and failed to report $150,000 in campaign contributions, which prevented election officials from carrying out their duties.
Attorneys told the state Court of Appeals that the juries were tainted by pre-trial publicity surrounding Wright's expulsion from the state House.
He became the first lawmaker tossed out of the General Assembly since the 1880s when legislators found him guilty of ethics violations and voted overwhelmingly to expel him.