Thomas Wright on trial again

August 25, 2008 2:34:17 PM PDT
Former state representative Thomas Wright is serving prison time right now and he is on trial again facing a jury on a charge of "obstructing justice." Wright has already been convicted of fraudulently taking out a $150,000 dollar loan and pocketing charitable contributions and has been thrown out of the state legislature.

Thomas Wright orginally asked that the charges against him be heard in two separate trials, so after more than four months behind bars, Wright returned here to the Wake County Courthouse. Wright wore a suit today, much like he did during his former trial, even though now his daily clothes are prison issue. Some of the jurors did not know the difference as some were unaware of his former conviction.

SBI agent Johnnie Umphlet and state prosecutors are trying to convince a jury that Wright didn't report about $150,000 dollars in campaign contributions to the state board of elections and therefore obstructed justice.

But Wright's attorneys told jurors there is no state law on obstruction of justice, and even Old English Common Law doesn't cover the charge against Wright.

Doug Harris, Wright's attorney said in the court room, "Nowhere in these United States has Obstruction of Justice ever been prosecuted as a crime."

Under cross examination SBI agent Umphlet told jurors as far as he knew Wright turned over all documents and never tried to cover up by altering or destroying evidence.

Prosecutors already got one jury to convict Wright of funneling charitible contributions into his personal bank account as well as getting a fradulent bank loan. That sent him to prison for almost six years and possibly longer.

Another conviction for Wright could extend the sentence, or the judge could elect to run it side by side with the one he's already serving.


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