Former North Carolina state senator gets suspended sentence in state court

Fletcher Hartsell

Former North Carolina state Sen. Fletcher Hartsell has received probation in state court after pleading guilty to three counts of filing false campaign reports.

Friday's sentencing by Wake County Judge Donald Stephens comes three days after a federal judge sentenced Hartsell to eight months in prison for charges related to a multi-year campaign finance investigation. Federal prosecutors said he used more than $200,000 in campaign funds for personal benefit, such as for vacations, speeding tickets and haircuts.

Under sentencing laws, Hartsell could not have received prison time for the state charges. His unsupervised probation is for 18 months.

Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman told the judge she's satisfied that the federal prison term and other punishments are enough for Hartsell. The judge told the former senator that it's unfortunate his public service career has ended this way.

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