Friday, April 04, 2008

Exhaustion has set in after a long week of covering the Wright trial and I need to spend some quality time with the wife so sorry for the short entry.

No verdict..back at it Monday morning.

Here's my story from today..

RALEIGH -- No verdict after a day of deliberations in the Thomas Wright trial.

The former lawmaker faces four criminal counts of fraud relating to a bank loan and charitable donations.

As closing arguments began, Wright sat quiet and calm as his attorney told juror that's he's on trial because of politics.

"Tom Wright supported a Republican in the 2006 Senate election in his county," Wright's attorney Harris said. "And what happened next? One month later, one month later, Joe Sinsheimer filed a complaint with the elections board that led to all of this."

All of this includes four felony fraud charges. Investigators believe he pocketed nearly $9000 in charitable donations.

"How could you do this? You're an educated man," Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said. "How could you do this? You're an elected official."

Wright maintains it was simply slopping bookkeeping. Investigators also believe Wright used a bogus letter promising money to help secure a $150,000 loan.

Harris told jurors that Wright committed no fraud because he gained nothing.

"What kind of idiot would set up a corporation, get a federal tax id number, get three other people in the corporation, borrow $150,000 and not get any money out of the deal? What kind of idiot," Harris said.

The DA admitted to jurors that Wright has done good deeds but somehow went down the wrong path.

"His community needed his help, and he did help some folks but somewhere along the way he got his values mixed up," Willoughby added.

The jury did ask a couple questions and did ask the judge for some evidence and deliberated for about four hours but could not come up with a verdict. They will come back first thing Monday morning at 9:30am.

Wright also faces an obstruction of justice charge that he will defend in a separate trial. Investigators believe Wright failed to report $180,000 in campaign donations.

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