Former DA pleads guilty in wife-hiring scheme
A former district attorney pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to get his wife a job in a fellow prosecutor's office.Posted — Updated
Craig Blitzer pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to discharge the duties of his office. Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens postponed sentencing until after the case against his co-defendant, a North Carolina State Bar complaint and a whistleblower lawsuit are all resolved.
Blitzer resigned in March as Rockingham County district attorney, while Wallace Bradsher, who also faces a charge of failure to discharge the duties of his office, resigned in May as district attorney for Person and Caswell counties.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Blitzer and Bradsher initially hired their wives to work for them, but because state ethics rules prohibit prosecutors from employing relatives, the two wives swapped jobs. A State Bureau of Investigation probe found that Pam Bradsher did the work she was paid to do by Blitzer but that Cindy Blitzer was taking nursing classes while on the clock in Wallace Bradsher's office.
When Pam Bradsher quit her job two years ago, Craig Blitzer paid for a man named Tyler Henderson to work in Wallace Bradsher's office in order to keep his wife employed there, Freeman said.
The scheme unraveled last year when both an assistant district attorney in Rockingham County and a staffer in Wallace Bradsher's office reported alleged wrongdoing to the SBI.
Bradsher later fired the staffer who provided information to the SBI, and she has fired a wrongful termination suit against him.
Craig Blitzer has repaid the state $48,000, which is the amount his wife earned from the no-show job, Freeman said, and he is cooperating with prosecutors in the case against Bradsher. That case is expected to go to trial in late August, she said.
Freeman said she is turning over her findings in the case to the State Bar, which could pursue disciplinary action against both former prosecutors.
"This is not a happy day for anybody," Freeman said after the court hearing. "As DAs, we are elected to uphold the law to try and make a determination between right and wrong on behalf of our communities, and it's important we uphold the highest ethical standards. And clearly today, by having a sitting DA who has been forced out of office to come in and plead to willfully failing to discharge his duties, it's a disappointing day."
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