Today’s Charlotte Observer features a story by Jim Morrill on efforts by the friends of former Speaker Jim Black to reduce his prison sentence – see: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/597/story/793368.html
Democracy North Carolina has followed the Black saga closely; in fact, we filed the complaint about illegal contributions in his campaign that triggered the State Board of Election’s investigation and the subsequent federal and state probes. The scope of his corruption shocked his friends, but more has yet to be told –- which takes us to the missing part of today’s newspaper article:
Jim Black already had a chance to get a shorter prison sentence. By design, a considerable period of time was set aside between Black’s conviction and his sentencing date, so prosecutors could benefit from his cooperation in their investigation of political corruption. But Black gave them virtually no help. In fact, he continued to hide the truth behind self-serving stories that lacked credibility, right through to his tale about the $500,000 “loan” from lobbyist Don Beason. Consequently, federal and state judges gave him what they considered a fair prison sentence. If Black wants reduced prison time now, does that mean he’s changed his mind and is ready to tell the truth about what he knows about pay-to-play politics in North Carolina? It would be highly ironic if he wins shorter time now, not because of the merits of his case, but because of the lobbying clout of well-connected friends.