There were hearings this week before the State Board of Elections regarding the 9th Congressional District race involving alleged absentee ballot fraud. At least one person, Lisa Britt, admitted that she collected dozens of absentee ballots and forged or backdated signatures on the ballots. Candidate Mark Harris’s son John Harris, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, testified that he warned his father that he believed that McCrae Dowless may have been engaging in illegal activity in connection with absentee ballots. Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, whose office is involved in the Bladen County investigation in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest from the local DA’s office, said that none of the people testifying before the State Board of Elections has an immunity deal in the parallel criminal investigation. Keep reading for more news.
School Bus Safety. The Greensboro News & Record says that law enforcement agencies in Guilford County have been cracking down on motorists who endanger children by disregarding the stop signs on school busses through an initiative called “Operation Stop Arm.” More details about the program are available here.
Sheriff Transport Crash. WLOS reports that one person died and a Sheriff’s Deputy was injured in a single vehicle crash that occurred between Franklin and Hayesville. Deputy Cody Nathan Mitchell was transporting James Baggott to his residence when the crash occurred on US-64.
Fairfax Accusations. Several Virginia politicians have come under intense scrutiny this month. Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring each have admitted to wearing blackface while at parties in college in the 1980’s. Lieutenant Governor and former federal prosecutor Justin Fairfax has troubles of a different sort as he confronts allegations that he sexually assaulted two women in the early 2000’s, with one incident allegedly happening at a Duke fraternity party and the other at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Calls for investigations into the allegations against Fairfax have come from various sources – from presidential hopefuls to state politicians to Fairfax himself – it was unclear at the time of writing whether any investigation had actually been launched. As there’s no statute of limitations for felonies in North Carolina, Fairfax could face prosecution if the allegations involving the Duke fraternity incident are true.
Smollett Charged. A couple of weeks ago the News Roundup noted that actor Jussie Smollett had been the victim of an apparent hate attack. It is now being reported that Smollett was charged this week with filing a false police report and staging the assault with the assistance of two people that he knows from his TV show “Empire.” In addition to the criminal charge, Smollett is facing intense public criticism, though he maintains that he in fact was the victim of an assault. He was taken into custody yesterday.
Running Down a Dream. Runner’s World reports that a Philadelphia running club transitioned into a vigilante mob last month in order to run down a person who had robbed a man of his laptop and cellphone. Initially impressed by the person’s 7:15 mile pace as he sprinted past, the club soon realized that the quick pace was motivated by a thief’s desire to remain free rather than to stay healthy. Taking a cue from Judge R.W. Buzzard, they decided to pursue the man through neighborhoods and construction sites, losing one member to a torn calf muscle along the way but eventually herding the criminal into the custody of police.