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Former Phipps' Aide Testifies In Trial Of Former State Ag Commissioner

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Bobby McLamb, a key player in the Meg Scott Phipps campaign scandal, took the stand Wednesday.

Phipps, the former state Agriculture commissioner, is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with a campaign finance scandal. Part of the state's case against Phipps surrounds an illegal loan to McLamb.

McLamb, who used to work for the former agriculture commissioner, testified that Phipps was present at several meetings discussing her campaign's payment of the loan. Prosecutors also introduced an e-mail from Phipps, asking McLamb for his loan number. McLamb said Phipps also asked about the loan the day he was fired from the State Agriculture Department.

McLamb had pleaded guilty to federal extortion and conspiracy charges.

Earlier in the day, Norman Chambliss, a Rocky Mount businessman who played a part in a series of illegal loans, told prosecutors that Phipps knew that her campaign was paying off a loan for former opponent Bobby McLamb, who later became an aide to Phipps. Chambliss also helped Phipps reach her decision to select Amusements of America to run the midway for the North Carolina State Fair in 2002.

Defense attorney Roger Smith countered by saying Chambliss gave false testimony to members of the State Board of Elections during a hearing last year regarding Phipps. Chambliss also admitted he lied to investigators about a financial interest he had in the state fair.

Smith also used Chambliss to discredit other witnesses who are expected to testify, including McLamb and another former Phipps' aide, Linda Saunders.

Chambliss said he believed Saunders had a romantic relationship with one of the representatives for Amusements of America.


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