Former House Speaker Starts Prison Sentence

Former House Speaker Jim Black says he's prepared for about anything.

Those were his words as he surrendered to federal marshals this afternoon to begin his prison term. The 72-year-old Mecklenburg County Democrat arrived with his attorney at the federal courthouse in Raleigh shortly before 2 pm, minutes before a court-ordered deadline to surrender.

Wearing gray slacks and a red-striped button-down shirt, Black smiled at reporters as he arrived.

Black pleaded guilty in February to one federal charge related to illegally taking thousands of dollars in cash from chiropractors while pushing their agenda at the Legislature.

Black has been assigned to a prison camp in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, about 170 miles west of Philadelphia and more than 500 miles from Black's Charlotte home.

It's unclear where Black will spend his first night in prison, though prosecutors in Wake County said they expected Black to appear in state court as scheduled.