Local Politics

Days Behind Bars Numbered for Ex-Ag Commissioner

Posted April 11, 2007 8:15 a.m. EDT

— Former state Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps is scheduled to be released from federal prison in less than two weeks after serving almost four years in connection with a campaign finance scandal.

Phipps pleaded guilty in November 2003 to two counts of extortion, two counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy in exchange for prosecutors dropping more than two dozen other charges against her.

She admitted to accepting illegal cash and submitting false campaign finance reports to cover her tracks. She also said she extorted money from carnival operators in exchange for lucrative contracts at the North Carolina State Fair.

A Wake County jury also convicted Phipps on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. The state case detailed how she lied under oath before the State Board of Elections during a hearing into illegal campaign contributions.

Three of Phipps' former aides also pleaded guilty to their involvement in the scandal.

Phipps, the daughter of former Gov. Bob Scott and the granddaughter of former Gov. Kerr Scott, plans to serve the final months of her sentence on house arrest in Alamance County.