Local News

Ex-Person DA wants to keep search details under wraps

Posted March 4, 2010 4:29 p.m. EST
Updated March 4, 2010 7:03 p.m. EST

— The state Attorney General's Office is facing off against the former district attorney in Person and Caswell counties as to whether details of a search of the prosecutor's office should be public record.

The State Bureau of Investigation has been investigating Joel Brewer since last fall, officials said, but the reason for the probe hasn't been disclosed. Brewer, who retired last week, previously said he was cooperating fully with the investigation.

SBI agents searched Brewer's office at the Person County Courthouse last week, and Brewer has asked a judge to seal the search warrant so that details of what was taken and the reason for the search cannot be reported.

The Attorney General's Office opposes Brewer's attempt to seal the search warrant, and a hearing on the issue has been scheduled for Monday afternoon in Union County.

A Roxboro attorney who is familiar with the case and has seen court documents dealing with it said the SBI investigation doesn't involve anyone else in the district attorney's office and there is more than one accuser.

Gov. Beverly Perdue's office is reviewing candidates to name someone to fill the remainder of Brewer's term.

Perdue said Thursday that she is having trouble finding a qualified candidate who lives in either of the two counties who would be willing to give up his or her law practice temporarily to take the job.

"I have a retired judge in Durham, (and) I have a retired judge in Raleigh who would be fabulous, but the law won't allow me to hire them," she said.

Under state law, a district attorney must live in the county he represents.