Local News

Former Person DA's conviction in wife-hiring scheme partly overturned on appeal

Posted October 6, 2020 11:54 a.m. EDT

Former district attorney Wallace Bradsher delivers the closing argument in his fraud trial on June 13, 2018.

— The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday threw out the conviction on two charges of former Person County District Attorney Wallace Bradsher for hiring a colleague's wife for a no-show job.

Bradsher was disbarred and served five months behind bars in 2018 after being found guilty of obtaining property by false pretense, aiding and abetting obtaining property by false pretense, obstruction of justice and failure to discharge the duties of his office.

The appeals court vacated the convictions on the obtaining property by false pretense and obstruction of justice charges, sending the case back to the trial court for any necessary proceedings. Bradsher's convictions on the other charges still stand.

Craig Blitzer, who formerly served as Rockingham County district attorney, testified during the trial that he and Bradsher agreed in 2015 to hire each other's wives to get around state ethics rules.

Cindy Blitzer said Bradsher was aware that she wasn't doing any work for months but was still getting paid. He had encouraged her to focus on her classes as she worked to complete her nursing degree.

Bradsher, who represented himself during the criminal trial, called the lack of oversight "an administrative failure" that didn't rise to the level of a crime, and he appealed the conviction.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals agreed unanimously that Bradsher didn't "work in concert" with Cindy Blitzer to enter falsified hours in the state payroll system, so he wasn't guilty of fraud. Likewise, his statements to a State Bureau of Investigation agent reviewing her timesheets didn't impede the investigation, the court ruled, so Bradsher wasn't guilty of obstruction.

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