State News

Black Ordered Not to Drink Alcohol, Remain in Western N.C.

Posted June 21, 2007 7:38 p.m. EDT
Updated June 21, 2007 10:21 p.m. EDT

— A federal judge has ordered former House Speaker Jim Black to abstain from alcohol and to remain within 31 counties in western North Carolina as he awaits his sentencing next month, according to a court document filed Thursday.

Black, his attorney, his probation officer and U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle signed the change to the conditions of Black's release. The papers gave no reason for the change, saying only that it was "appropriate."

The Mecklenburg County Democrat pleaded guilty in February to one count of taking thousands of dollars in cash from chiropractors while promoting their industry's agenda.

The initial terms of Black's release permitted him to travel outside the country with permission from the government.

The new conditions restrict Black to the federal courts Western District while allowing him to go the Eastern District, which includes Raleigh and New Bern, for court appearances. He also can go to the federal court system's Middle District for medical appointments. The Middle District includes Winston-Salem, Durham and Chapel Hill, with their major medical centers. Any of those trips has to be approved, however.

Black, 72, also can't drink any alcohol and will submit to testing for it and other prohibited substances, according to the new rules.

Black faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty in February to one count of accepting things of value in connection with the business of state government. Boyle has scheduled Black's sentencing hearing for July 11 in Raleigh.