Warrant: Ex-Person DA impersonated officer
The former district attorney for Person and Caswell counties stopped drivers by flashing a gold badge and tried to use dismissed cases to win re-election, according to a search warrant filed Tuesday.Posted — Updated
The State Bureau of Investigation has been investigating Joel Brewer since last fall, officials said, but the reason for the probe hadn't previously been disclosed. Brewer, who retired last month, has said he is cooperating fully with the investigation.
SBI agents searched Brewer's office at the Person County Courthouse two weeks ago, seizing two folders containing pink copies of citations, notes, phone messages and letters, according to the search warrant. One file was for male defendants, and the other was for female defendants, the warrant states.
Agents also seized a gold-colored badge with "District Attorney" and "J.H. Brewer" engraved on the shield, according to the warrant.
Two people told investigators that Brewer would keep the pink copies in his office after dismissing charges and would call the defendants up during a campaign to remind them of the cases. He wanted the defendants to vote for him and to work at the polls for him on Election Day, the people told investigators.
One of the witnesses told investigators that Brewer asked a female defendant for her phone number while dismissing a charge against her, and he wrote it on the pink copy of the citation, according to the warrant.
A woman told investigators that a man driving a dark-colored Corvette stopped her on the road, flashed a badge and threatened to cite her for various traffic offenses. When she protested, he got back into his car and left. She gave the license plate number of the Corvette to investigators, who traced it to Brewer, according to the warrant.
Another witness also reported seeing Brewer stop a driver by flashing the badge, according to the warrant.
SBI Special Agent W.R. Myers stated in his affidavit for the search warrant that there was probable cause to show Brewer impersonated a law enforcement officer and abused his authority.
Brewer tried to keep the search warrant sealed, but a Superior Court judge ruled Monday that all but two paragraphs of the warrant and affidavit should be filed as public record. If criminal charges are filed in the case, an unedited version of the documents will become public record, the judge ruled.
The two missing paragraphs involved information provided by a woman referred to in the affidavit as "Female #1."
Gov. Beverly Perdue's office is reviewing candidates to name someone to fill the remainder of Brewer's term.
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