Local Politics

Perjury Case Proceeds Against Jim Black Ally

Posted February 5, 2007 12:13 p.m. EST
Updated February 5, 2007 8:54 p.m. EST

— Jury selection is expected to continue Tuesday in the perjury trial of an associate of former state House speaker Jim Black.

Optometrist Michael Scott Edwards of Murfreesboro was indicted in September on four counts of felony perjury. A Wake County grand jury accused Edwards of failing to file accurate campaign finance reports for the political action committee of the N.C. State Optometric Society.

Black, who is on the witness list for Edwards' trial but isn't expected to testify, hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing in the case.

In February 2006, Edwards refused to testify at State Board of Elections hearings into whether Black, D-Mecklenburg, violated any campaign finance regulations. Others told the board how Edwards allegedly collected checks on which the payee lines were left blank. The checks came from members of the society's political action committee.

Witnesses told the Board of Elections that many of the checks were passed on to Black. They testified that Black directed where the money should go and filled in the payee on some of the checks.

Edwards' attorney, Stephen Smith, filed a motion Monday to dismiss the case, contending that Edwards never committed perjury because campaign treasurers aren't sworn to attest financial records. But Superior Court Judge Donald W. Stephens denied the motion.