Democratic former state A.B. Swindell and the state Democratic Party have issued an apology to Republican state Sen. Buck Newton regarding charges made in the 2010 campaign as part of a settlement in the suit.
During the Senate campaign, Swindell and the state Democratic Party ran radio ads and distributed mailings saying that while in college at Appalachian State University in 1990 Newton was arrested for selling illegal narcotics.
“The ads and mailings were based on records we obtained from the Watauga County Clerk of Court,” says the letter signed by Swindell and Jay Parmley, who is executive director of the Democratic Party. Swindell was defeated in the election.
“The court file we received did not contain an Addendum to the dismissal of the charges against Buck Newton, signed by an Assistant District Attorney in Watauga County.” the letter said.
The letter cites the letter from the assistant DA saying Newton's arrest was a case of mistaken identity and he was not involved the matter.
“Based upon the statements in the Addendum, Buck Newton was not involve din any way in these drug sales,” the letter said. “Had we received the Addendum along with the rest of the Court file, we would not have run the ads or distributed the mailings during the campaign.”
“The North Carolina Democratic Party and I regret this mistake and sincerely apologize to Senator Newton and his family for any embarrassment and harm we may have caused,” the letter says.
In a statement, Newton said he was satisfied with the apology and the resolution of the lawsuit.
“As I have said from the beginning, and as their apology states, I was completely innocent of the charges made in their advertisements,” Newton said. “I appreciate my name being cleared and finally getting an apology. It is past time to close the book on this kind of politics and put all of this behind us.''