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Perdue hires prominent defense attorneys

Posted February 4, 2011 5:02 p.m. EST
Updated February 4, 2011 5:46 p.m. EST

— With state and federal investigators examining her campaign spending, Gov. Beverly Perdue has hired two high-profile defense attorneys for legal advice.

Joe Cheshire said Friday that he and Wade Smith are representing Perdue, but he said he's confident she didn't do anything wrong.

"When the media began reporting that Gov. Perdue’s campaign committee was under investigation, she asked Wade Smith and me if we would be available to answer any questions she might have about that process," Cheshire said in a statement. "We do not believe that Gov. Perdue is the subject of any investigation, and we are confident that she has not done anything improper or illegal."

The State Board of Elections fined Perdue's campaign $30,000 last August for not reporting dozens of flights she took aboard donors' planes during the 2004 and 2008 elections until late 2009.

State and federal investigators then began looking at Perdue's campaign spending to determine if any criminal charges are warranted.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby, who asked for the state investigation, reiterated Friday that he doesn't think the governor or any other elected official did anything wrong.

Perdue's campaign committee spent more than $140,000 in the last six months of 2010 to pay the law firm that defended the campaign in the elections board's investigation, according to a recent campaign report.

Cheshire also represented former Gov. Mike Easley in criminal investigations of his campaign finances. Easley pleaded guilty in November to signing a false campaign report.