Phipps Pleads Not Guilty To Perjury, Obstruction Charges
Posted September 15, 2003 11:53 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Former Ag Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps pleaded not guilty Monday in court to the five state charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Earlier, her attorney asked the judge to dismiss the charges against her.
Roger Smith, Phipps' attorney, claims Phipps was given immunity from prosecution when she testified before the State Board of Elections last year. However, Judge Donald Stephens denied the motion.
Smith believes his client will be headed to trial.
"We have always believed that you don't burn bridges. You don't close doors," he said. "As far as we are concerned, this case, like any other case, certainly could be resolved between now and the trial. I have no reason to believe at this point that it would be."
The state charges came after an investigation that focused on a state contract awarded to carnival operator Amusements of America and campaign donations to Phipps and others allegedly arranged by the company. Phipps resigned June 6.
The trial is set for Oct. 20. Phipps also faces 28 federal charges, including fraud, extortion, conspiracy, bribery and witness tampering.