Carolina Journal News Reports
Trawick "Buzzy" Stubbs appears at Wake County Superior Court after his Nov. 28 indictment on felony charges related to the 2008 Perdue campaign.
Updated, 4:22 pm.
RALEIGH — Gov. Bev Perdue’s close friend Trawick “Buzzy” Stubbs pleaded not guilty to criminal charges related to his unreported expenditures for the benefit of Perdue’s 2008 campaign for governor.
Stubbs, through his attorney David Long, on Monday filed a “Waiver of Arraignment” in Wake County Superior Court, entering "a plea of not guilty to the charges” against him. The two specific charges are obstruction of justice and causing the Perdue campaign committee to file false reports.
The document also noted that the district attorney and Long have agreed that all motions are to be filed no later than Wednesday, March 7. (See a PDF of the document here.)
The Wake County Superior Court calendar still lists Stubbs for a hearing on Monday, March 12, but Carolina Journal has been unable to determine if that hearing will take place.
(UPDATE, 4:22 p.m. Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby told CJ that the March 12 hearing date will remain on the calendar so that a judge has the opportunty to hear any motions that are filed or set a trial date.)
A Wake County grand jury indicted Stubbs Nov. 28. He is accused of funneling $28,000 through his law firm to pay for aircraft to fly Perdue to campaign events during 2007 and 2008. The free flights were not reported on campaign finance reports, a violation of campaign finance laws.
Stubbs, a New Bern attorney and registered Republican, is a longtime donor who has given primarily to GOP candidates. Stubbs was the law partner of Perdue’s late former husband. His eight-member law firm continues to bear the name Stubbs & Perdue.
The Perdue campaign eventually reported the flights and reimbursed Stubbs months after they took place. An investigation by the State Board of Elections identified several other individuals who were involved in giving the Perdue campaign free flights, but only one other person has been charged for a crime related to campaign flights.
Robert Lee Caldwell of Morganton was indicted in February 2011, but he has not been scheduled to appear in court. Caldwell’s indictment states that he solicited and accepted a check from James Fleming, a Morganton barber, in the amount of $3,048.50 to pay for a chartered aircraft for Perdue. Caldwell then reimbursed Fleming for the check with money that came from an unidentified third party — a violation of campaign law.
Two other Perdue associates also were indicted Nov. 28 for violating campaign finance laws. Julia Leigh Sitton of Morganton, also known as Juleigh Sitton, is scheduled to appear March 5. Sitton, an attorney, worked for the 2008 campaign and later ran the governor’s Western North Carolina office.
Former Perdue campaign finance director Peter Reichard, of Greensboro, was charged with funneling $32,000 from Morganton businessman Charles M. Fulenwider through a business Reichard owns to pay a portion of Sitton’s salary with the Perdue campaign. Fulenwider already had given the maximum $8,000 allowed during the primary and general election cycles.
Reichard worked out a plea agreement with Willoughby in December. Reichard entered an Alford plea, an arrangement allowing a defendant to maintain his innocence while acknowledging that the prosecutor has sufficient evidence to win a jury trial. Reichard agreed to pay a $25,000 fine and serve two years’ probation.
Don Carrington is executive editor of Carolina Journal.