News Roundup

The criminal cases against Greg Lindberg and Robin Hayes arising from their attempt to bribe State Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey to give favorable treatment to Lindberg’s insurance business have been regular topics in the News Roundup over the past year.  Lindberg was convicted by a jury earlier this year and Hayes pleaded guilty last year.  As the Charlotte Observer reports, both men were in federal court this week for sentencing.  Keep reading for more on this story and other news.

Bribery Scheme.  Lindberg received two sentences of more than seven years in prison, which are to run concurrently.  Hayes, who eventually cooperated with investigators, was sentenced to a year of probation.  Another man involved in the scheme, John Gray, was sentenced to more than two years in prison.  At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn called the bribery scheme “a serious breach of the law” and said that the sentences were meant to “deter people who think it’s a good idea to bribe officials in North Carolina.”

Lewis.  Late yesterday afternoon, WBTV reported that North Carolina House Rules Chairman David Lewis has been charged with two federal financial crimes – making false statements to a bank and failing to file a tax return.

A bill of information filed in the case says that Lewis opened a bank account in the name of “NC GOP, Inc.,” an entity that did not actually exist, and wrote checks from his campaign account that he deposited into the NC GOP, Inc., account.  Allegedly, he falsely reported the transfers as lawful contributions to the North Carolina Republican Party but used the money for personal expenses.  Lewis resigned from the legislature yesterday afternoon shortly before the charges were announced.

Bannon.  Earlier yesterday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York announced that former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and three other men had been arrested and charged with fraud in connection with an online fundraising campaign called “We Build the Wall,” an effort   An indictment filed in the case, alleges that the men repeatedly and falsely told the public that all donations to We Build the Wall, which totaled more than $25 million dollars, would be used to finance the construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico and that their efforts with the organization were on a volunteer basis involving no compensation.  It goes on to allege that the men schemed to secretly divert funds from We Build the Wall to cover personal expenses through the use of fake invoices and sham vendor arrangements.

Clinesmith.  The New York Times reports that a former FBI lawyer, Kevin E. Clinesmith, pleaded guilty this week to altering an email from the CIA in the process of asking for a renewal of a court order authorizing surveillance of former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.  Clinesmith’s alteration of the email was discovered during a DOJ Inspector General investigation of various problems associated with applications for wiretaps of Page.   The Times story says that the alteration had the effect of mischaracterizing Page’s relationship with the CIA in a way that made his interactions with Russians seem more suspicious.

Criminal Record Disclosure.  As WRAL reports, Governor Roy Cooper signed an order this week that will prevent many state agencies from asking job applicants about their criminal records.  Beginning on November 1, job applicants will not have to check a box on state hiring applications indicating whether they have a criminal record as the box will be eliminated.

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