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Two Former Aides Of State Ag Commissioner Appear In Court

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Two of State Ag Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps' former aides surrendered to authorities Tuesday after they were indicted on federal charges involving the 2000 election campaign.

Linda Saunders and Bobby McLamb went before U.S. Magistrate JudgeWilliam Webb Thursday in federal court, where they were told about the fines and stiff penalties they face. Neither Saunders nor McLamb spoke publicly in court. They were both released on $25,000 unsecured bonds.

David Long, McLamb's attorney, said his client will plead innocent to thecharges against him, but added he and his client are evaluating McLamb's options.

"You talk to your client about it. You come up with a decision -- whether you go to trial or whether you plead. We just have to work our way through that," he said.

Saunders was arrested outside the federal courthouse shortly after Noon after being indicted on federal charges earlier in the week. Saunders was State Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps' campaign treasurer before being hired as a top assistant in the Agriculture Department.

Saunders faces 17 counts including conspiracy, fraud, extortion and money laundering. Investigators say Saunders was part of a scheme to take illegal campaign contributions and divert them to other sources to hide the cash.

McLamb, who helped Ag Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps in her 2000 campaign, also surrendered to authorities on Thursday. McLamb ran against Phipps in the 2000 Democratic primary. After he lost, he joined Phipps' campaign to help raise money from carnival operators.

McLamb faces two counts of extortion and conspiracy. Authorities said he planned to use the money to help repay his campaign debt.


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