Local Politics

Government agrees to dismiss ex-lottery commissioner's conviction

Posted June 29, 2010 3:36 p.m. EDT
Updated June 29, 2010 3:56 p.m. EDT

— Federal prosecutors said in a court filing Tuesday that the 2006 conviction of former North Carolina lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings should be vacated because the U.S. Supreme Court curtailed the use of the law used against him.

In their 14-page memorandum, U.S. Attorney George Holding and assistants John Bruce and Dennis Duffy said that Geddings should be released from prison as soon as practically possible.

Geddings, 45, was convicted in October 2006 of five counts of mail fraud. Prosecutors said he defrauded the state of honest services in late 2005 by failing to disclose more than $250,000 in payments his public relations firm received from lottery systems maker, Scientific Games Corp., which was trying to win the contract to provide lottery equipment to North Carolina.

He was sentenced in 2007 to four years in prison and is scheduled to be released on Christmas Eve.

The Supreme Court voted 6-3 last week to keep the honest services law in force, but they voted unanimously to weaken it. The court said prosecutors could continue to seek honest services fraud convictions only in cases where they put forward evidence that defendants accepted bribes or kickbacks.

"As a result of this ruling, it is no longer a federal crime for state public officials to corrupt their public offices by engaging in undisclosed self-dealing," the prosecutors wrote. "Consequently, the government concedes that Geddings is entitled to have his conviction vacated."

Geddings still must go through the formal application process to get his conviction overturned and his record cleared. Prosecutors said it was unclear how long that would take, which is why they called for his release while that process was going on.