Local Politics

Black to get out of prison early

Posted March 2, 2010 12:31 p.m. EST
Updated March 2, 2010 3:02 p.m. EST

— Former state House Speaker Jim Black will get out of prison a year early, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Web site.

Black, who is serving a 63-month sentence for corruption at a federal prison in Jesup, Ga., is scheduled to be released in March 2011, according to the Web site. When he was transferred last year to Jesup from a federal prison camp in Lewisburg, Pa., his release date was listed as March 2012.

Black's attorney, Jim Craven of Durham, had requested that a year be taken off the sentence if Black completed alcohol treatment while in prison. Craven declined to comment Tuesday on the reason for the change in his release date, but a representative of the attorney said Black had earned good-behavior credits to trim time off his sentence.

Bureau of Prisons officials declined to comment.

Black, 74, pleaded guilty in 2007 to charges that he accepted illegal campaign contributions from chiropractors in exchange for supporting legislation favorable to the industry.

He also pleaded guilty in state court to bribery and obstruction of justice charges. The bribery charge was in connection to paying former Forsyth County lawmaker Michael Decker to switch parties in 2003 so Black could retain a share of the House speakership. The obstruction charge stemmed from encouraging chiropractors to fudge when speaking to authorities about cash they had given him.

The state prison sentences run at the same time as his federal sentence, and Black last year paid off a $1 million fine that was imposed for the bribery conviction.

The prison in Jesup is about 300 miles from Black's home near Charlotte.