DA to take a look at Perdue flights

NC Governor Beverly Perdue (Steve Helber)

August 26, 2010 3:39:12 PM PDT
Wake County's top prosecutor said Thursday he still has not looked at the case involving the governor's unreported campaign flights, but he says he plans to soon. Colon Willoughby is not saying if he is investigating, but the district attorney -- who has the power to open up a criminal investigation on the flights -- did say the issue will not be ignored.

Earlier this week, the State Board of Elections decided to fine the Bev Perdue campaign, but not hold an investigative hearing into dozens of un-reported plane flights.

"Let me just say what I've been saying for eight months," Perdue said. "I'm truly confident that anybody that looks at what the campaign did in an impartial unbiased way is going to walk away with the same conclusion that the State Board of Elections did."

The board called no witnesses to testify under oath, but decided the un-reported flights were an honest oversight, not intentional.

But Wake County's district attorney says the elections board has also asked him to look into the case. He says he will review it next week, because he is prosecuting a murder trial now.

Willoughby could decide if flight issue deserves a criminal charge.

"Nobody in the campaign did anything intentionally wrong and I feel fine about it," Perdue said.

Republicans have tried to hammer Perdue on the flights, which first came to light shortly after the former governor, Mike Easley, revealed he took about 100 free flights.

In a statement Thursday, Jordan Shaw with the NC GOP said, "There is sample evidence there was intentional wrong doing. Inconsistencies have been clearly displayed. If the State Board of Elections refuses to put anyone under oath, then the Wake district attorney should. The people of North Carolina deserve to know the truth."

The Perdue campaign had said early on that flights had not been reported, because of a computer glitch and then sloppy accounting. But a board of elections report last week said people running Perdue's campaign had started accounting for flights back in 2005 and had a sophisticated spread sheet system by 2008.

"Nobody ever said there weren't spread sheets," Perdue said. "There's a lot of documentation. That's not the problem. The problem is that it was never consolidated. And there was no follow-up. I don't know what happened."

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