Local Politics

Judge orders release of ex-lottery commissioner

Posted June 29, 2010 9:43 p.m. EDT
Updated June 29, 2010 10:31 p.m. EDT

— A judge on Tuesday ordered a former North Carolina lottery commissioner convicted of five counts of the honest services law released from a Georgia prison.

U.S. District Judge James Dever III said Kevin Geddings should be set free as he seeks to have his 2006 conviction vacated. The decision came just hours after prosecutors said Geddings should be released.

Geddings was found guilty of honest services mail fraud for not disclosing his financial ties to a company that was expected to bid for North Carolina's lottery business. In May 2007, he was sentenced to four years in federal prison. The U.S. Supreme Court last week struck down parts of that law. It ruled that criminal convictions are only valid in cases if bribes or kickbacks are involved, and not merely conflicts of interest.

"We are gratified, first of all, that the Supreme Court has decided we were right all along about that what Mr. Geddings did is not honest services mail fraud," Geddings' attorney' Jonathan Edelstein said.

"We are gratified that the government has agreed that he'd entitled to release. We are gratified that the court has acted so quickly in directing him to be released, and I intend to waste no time, once he is out of prison, filing a motion to vacate his conviction and to dismiss the charges once and for all," Edelstein said.

Prosecutors revisited Geddings' conviction following last week's Supreme Court decision. The law does not cover Geddings' dealings, prosecutors said.

"Thus, the Government concedes that Geddings is entitled to have his conviction vacated," they wrote in a court filing.

Geddings, a former lottery commissioner, is at a federal prison in Jesup, Ga. He has a December release date, although he is scheduled to move to a halfway house in September.

A spokeswoman at the U.S. attorney's office in Raleigh declined comment.