Thursday, June 11, 2009

Black's attorneys ask Obama for leniency

Former House Speaker Jim Black wants President Obama to send him home, or at least send him to a federal prison closer to it.

WRAL-TV reported Wednesday that the Mecklenburg County Democrat's attorneys have asked Obama to commute his sentence, or let him serve the remainder of his five-year sentence for a corruption conviction in North Carolina or South Carolina. Here's the story.

Friends and colleagues have reportedly written letters of support for shortening the prison sentence or moving Black to a federal prison in the Carolinas.

Black testified at a state sentencing hearing on July 31, 2007 explaining why he gave money to Rep. Michael Decker after the Republican switched parties, admitted to attempting to coerce the testimony of chiropractors and why he received a $500,000 loan from a lobbyist in 2000.

An excerpt:

Q. Would you tell us your name, please?
A. James Boyce Black.
Q. And, Dr. Black, did you enter a plea of guilty here on February the 20th of 2007 to the charges of bribery and obstruction of justice?
A. An Alford plea, as I understand it.
Q. But you did plead guilty but you did not admit
your guilt?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And did you agree to be -- to cooperate in the investigation and be completely truthful?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Dr. Black, do you admit that you accepted at least $25,000 in cash from Dr. Brown, Dr. Keith, and Dr. Willen?
A. I agree with that.
Q. And did you acknowledge that you accepted at least $2,000 in cash from David Baucom?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. And did you admit that you accepted other cash from other chiropractors?
A. Yes.
Q. And do you now admit that you gave at least $10,000 in cash to Representative Michael Decker?
A. Yes.
Q. And did you do that after he had voted for you in the speaker-of-the-House race in early 2003?
A. I believe that it was after, but that's been eight years, and I don't remember exactly when it was, but I believe it was after.

- Doug Miller

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