New Lindberg bribery, fraud trial officially set for Nov. 6

United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Former N.C. political donor Greg Lindberg's retrial on bribery and fraud charges is set for Nov. 6.
  • The case had been scheduled for March, but all parties agreed to a delay.
  • A federal grand jury indicted Lindberg in February on 13 counts unrelated to the bribery case. New charges include wire fraud, money-laundering conspiracy, and false entries about insurance business finances.

A federal judge has set Nov. 6 as the date for a new bribery and fraud trial for former high-profile N.C. political donor Greg Lindberg. The case had been scheduled for this month. It was delayed because of issues related to Lindberg co-defendant John Gray.

“For the reasons stated in the motion, for the good cause shown, and because all parties have conferred and jointly agreed upon the proposed trial date setting, the Court finds that the ends of justice will be served by setting this case for trial on November 6, 2023,” wrote Judge Max Cogburn in an order issued Friday. “The Court will pick the jury in this case at the beginning of the Court’s November 6, 2023, criminal term.”

Lawyers in the case had filed paperwork in January seeking a November trial date.

Uncertainty late last year about Gray’s legal representation helped lead to the delay of retrials for both Gray and Lindberg.

Carolina Journal reported on Dec. 5 that court documents had pointed toward a March 2023 retrial date for Lindberg, who was convicted in 2020 and sentenced to seven years in prison. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out that conviction in June 2022.

Court filings in December showed that Gray recently had hired a new attorney. That lawyer filed a motion on Dec. 30 to delay Gray’s retrial.  

Cogburn agreed with that request. “[F]ailure to grant such a continuance would deny counsel for defendant the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation, taking into account the exercise of due diligence,” the judge wrote in January. “Further, the ends of justice served by granting such continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and defendant in a speedy trial. Specifically, Defendant and counsel have shown a need for additional time to review discovery and other materials in preparing for trial or other resolution of this matter.”

Cogburn also ruled that “this matter is continued as to the remaining co-defendants,” including Lindberg. “[S]uch defendants are joined with a co-defendant whose case has been continued from the term and as to whom the time for trial has not run and no motion for severance has been granted.”

Federal authorities argue that Lindberg attempted to bribe state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey with “more than $2 million” after Causey’s 2016 election. Causey worked with federal law enforcement officials to collect evidence against Lindberg and associates.

Lindberg was convicted in March 2020 and was sentenced to a seven-year federal prison term. But the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out that conviction last June. Appellate judges ruled that mistakes in Cogburn’s jury instructions had “infected” Lindberg’s convictions.

A court filing in December signaled the large number of documents associated with the case. “On November 21, 2022, … the United States made a discovery production to Defendant Lindberg which consisted of over 6.4 million pages of documents.” according to the motion.

Gray was expected to receive the same volume of documents. He did not get them in November because of the uncertainty about his legal representation.

In November Cogburn rejected Lindberg’s attempt to end GPS monitoring while he awaits his new trial.

“The concerns previously expressed by the Government continue to exist,” Cogburn wrote in a Nov. 10 order. “Mr. Lindberg now lives in Tampa, Florida, where, according to the Government, he has ready access to both his ocean-going yacht and airplane.”

“The Government has also indicated that Lindberg continues to have significant overseas business interest and assets available to him outside of the United States,” Cogburn added. “As for Defendant’s contention that he has no incentive to flee because he has a growing family with an additional child on the way, the Court is not persuaded.”

“Here, Lindberg’s knowledge of an ongoing criminal investigation into his business practices and the potential for additional criminal charges, as well as the knowledge that he was previously convicted by a jury which resulted in his going to federal prison to serve an 87-month sentence, and the recent civil action filed against him by the SEC provide an incentive for him to flee,” the judge concluded. “The Court finds that location monitoring is a reasonable restriction in light of Lindberg’s motivation and ability to flee.”

A Nov. 8 court filing from Lindberg had disputed the government’s argument that he’s a flight risk.

“Mr. Lindberg lives in a permanent home in Tampa with his significant other and five of his children — all under the age of three, and two under the age of one,” according to the brief. “He regularly sees his other children in Tampa when they visit him on a monthly basis. He is also expecting another child in March of 2023.”

In addition to the fraud and bribery charges, Lindberg learned in August about a new federal complaint from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC accuses Lindberg of raiding his own insurance companies in a “massive fraudulent scheme.”

In February a federal grand jury indicted Lindberg on 13 counts unrelated to the bribery case. The new charges include wire fraud, money-laundering conspiracy, and false entries about insurance business finances. Lindberg pleaded not guilty to those charges earlier this month. He was released on an unsecured $100,000 bond after appearing in court in Charlotte.