Local Politics

Headed for Pa. Prison, Black Asks for Week Delay

Posted July 26, 2007 3:00 p.m. EDT
Updated July 26, 2007 7:21 p.m. EDT

— Former House Speaker Jim Black on Thursday asked again for a delay in reporting to federal prison so he could attend a scheduled sentencing hearing in Wake County court next Tuesday.

Black has been assigned to serve his sentence in Lewisburg, Pa., a minimum-security federal prison camp that also housed some of the Watergate conspirators. He had asked to be assigned to the federal prison in Butner, where he could take part in an alcohol treatment program, but the U.S. Bureau of Prisons decided against keeping him in North Carolina.

The 72-year-old Mecklenburg County Democrat was sentenced two weeks ago to 63 months in prison after pleading guilty to a federal charge of accepting an illegal gratuity. He admitted accepting more than $25,000 in cash from chiropractors over several years while backing legislation favorable to the industry in the state House.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on state bribery and obstruction of justice charges next Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle ordered him to report to prison by next Monday. Having initially asked to delay reporting until Sept. 10 so he could go to some medical appointments and be sentenced on state charges, Black filed a motion Thursday asking to be allowed to report on Aug. 6.

Black said a one-week delay would allow him to attend the state sentencing hearing without being transported back and forth between Raleigh and Pennsylvania. Such transfers could pose a threat to his health, the motion states, because he uses a medically prescribed device to help him sleep, and he wouldn't be allowed to take that with him when he is moved from one site to the next.

Boyle hasn't ruled on Black's initial request for a delay, but he reiterated the July 30 reporting date in an order filed Tuesday.