A top Democratic donor to Gov. Bev Perdue facing trial for felony charges is a “scapegoat” for the campaign’s failure to properly disclose campaign flights, his defense attorney said Friday.
In a lengthy court hearing, attorney David Rudolf put the blame on the Perdue campaign in an attempt to absolve his client, Trawick “Buzzy” Stubbs, on felony charges of obstruction of justice and causing the filing of false campaign reports.
Attorneys for Stubbs and Julia Leigh Sitton, a former Perdue aide who faces the same charges in a separate scheme, are asking a Wake County judge to dismiss the cases.
“Mr. Stubbs is sitting here in essence as a scapegoat for what the campaigns’ weren’t doing right,” said Rudolf, a high-profile Charlotte attorney. “That’s why there is no evidence of criminal intent. People screwed up there’s no doubt about that.”
Stubbs, a New Bern attorney and longtime law partner with Perdue’s first husband, provided $28,000 worth of private jet flights to ferry Perdue across the state in her successful campaign for governor – most of which were not properly reported, as required under state law, until months after the election.
Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby countered by telling the judge that Stubbs used a special account at his law firm to pay for the flights over a period of 22 months without ever invoicing the campaign. “Not only is it illegal,” he told the judge. “They kept it covered up.”
The hearing – which is expected to resume Friday afternoon – indicates the political perils Perdue would have faced if she decided to run for re-election amid the trial of her former campaign associates. Earlier this year, at the 11th hour, she decided against seeking a second term.
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