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Archive for January, 2013

Judge Lewis takes stand in libel case

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — For the second time in two years a jury will be asked tomorrow to distinguish between first amendment rights and libel in a case involving a Brunswick County judge.

When Edward Rapp made a post on his Facebook page questioning whether a judge could openly support a candidate, Brunswick County Resident Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis took exception.

In court Thursday she told a jury why she has not accepted Rapp’s public apologies.

“He has never contacted me personally, nor have you about that,” Lewis told Rapp’s attorney. “Nor has he posted any apology on his Facebook page. Nor has he posted any apology on any blog.”

The defense has maintained throughout the trial that Rapp’s comments were not out of line with public opinion of Judge Lewis. Today they pointed to a number of stories done by WWAY and the StarNews, which Lewis has never responded to.

“Judicial standards will not allow us to respond to sensationalism in the media, so I was able to give some clarification but not tell the whole story, as I have had the opportunity to do here in court today,” Lewis said.

While Lewis was on the stand, Rapp’s attorney questioned if the suit was still about libel or the punitive damages she now seeks.

“I am asking this jury to determine what my reputation is worth, that I have worked so hard for over the last 20 plus years,” Lewis said. “My reputation is my brand, sir.”

Both sides say they expect a verdict in this case by the end of tomorrow.

More: continued here

Future of Brittt Motorsports still up in the air

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Britt Motorsports filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in October 2011 with plans to stay open, but a sign on its door says the shop is closed with hopes to reopen Feb. 1, and owner Scott Britt was recently arrested in Cumberland County for writing a bad check.

A former employee says he is unsure of what the future holds for the shop, but he believes Britt will return to business.

“Because of how deeply ingrained this is in Scott’s blood, and his son’s blood and his father’s blood, there will never be a time when Scott Britt doesn’t run something in the motorcycle industry in North Carolina,” former Britt service manager Kenneth Bolukbas said.

We tried to talk with Scott Britt today, but he referred us to his attorney, who has not called us back.

In a text, Britt said the plan to reopen his store Feb. 1 is still tentative.

More: continued here

Mother says 9-year-old disabled daughter was left on school bus

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

A bus driver and bus monitor were suspended Thursday after a parent says her 9-year-old disabled daughter was left on a school bus.

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Mansfield drops out of race for NC Dems chairman

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

FAYETTEVILLE, NC (AP) — One of the two candidates for North Carolina Democratic Party chairman has dropped out of the race, citing family concerns.

Former state Sen. Eric Mansfield of Fayetteville told supporters Thursday he was withdrawing because his mother has a “rapidly deteriorating disease” that requires his full attention. Mansfield entered the race last month but now says he must be there for his mother now.

The decision leaves Chatham County Democratic chairman and Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller as the only announced candidate for the post. The state party’s executive committee meets Feb. 2 to choose new leaders. Current Chairman David Parker said he is not seeking re-election.

Mansfield served in the Senate for two years and ran unsuccessfully in 2012 for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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NC AG wants to expand investigative grand juries

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s attorney general is again seeking the power for prosecutors to call investigative grand juries for public corruption cases, saying the tool makes it easier to look into cases involving powerful people.

Attorney General Roy Cooper and Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said Thursday at a news conference that prosecutors need to use the investigative grand juries for both public corruption and financial fraud cases.

They also want legislators to make it a crime to lie to State Bureau of Investigation agents.

Rep. Leo Daughtry of the House Judiciary Committee says when the bill came up several years ago, legislators were concerned that prosecutors would use the grand juries to go after political enemies.

Cooper and Willoughby say the proposal has enough checks and balances to prevent that.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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