A court hearing was pushed off again last week for a former Kinston lawmaker, and lawyers in the case indicated that they’re having discussions about “resolving the case,” a sign of plea deal discussions.
“The additional request for continuance is to allow the parties sufficient time to finalize discussions regarding resolution of the case and, if the case cannot be resolved, to allow time to obtain certain trial transcripts necessary for the hearing,” wrote Dennis Duffy, an assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case, in a Dec. 6 motion filed in federal court.
LaRoque, a Kinston Republican who had a powerful role in the 2011 state legislature as the co-chair of the House Rules Committee, was convicted in June by a federal jury of stealing from federally-funded non-profits he ran.
That verdict, which put him at risk of serving more than 90 years in prison, is unlikely to stand after a juror admitted doing independent research on tax regulations during the course of deliberations. (For background on the case, click here.)
LaRoque’s attorney, Joe Cheshire, has asked for a new trial.
“The parties have continued to engage in frequent communications in hopes of resolving the case,” Duffy wrote in the Dec. 6 motion. “The parties are in the final stages of completing the communications necessary to ascertain whether the hearing will be necessary.”
A Dec. 12 hearing on a motion for a new trial was pushed back to Feb. 13, though a worked-out arrangement could some sooner, according to court filings.