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LaRoque's Attorney Blames Liberal Media For Federal Charges


The attorney for a former state representative blames the liberal media for bringing about the charges against his client.

Stephen LaRoque is accused of theft, fraud and filing false tax returns.

The trial is being held at the Federal Courthouse in Greenville before Judge Malcolm Howard.

Federal prosecutors allege the Kinston Republican scammed taxpayers to finance a lavish lifestyle that included $2.1 million in salary payments and $300,000 in interest-free personal loans used to buy a house, new cars, an ice-skating rink and a collection of jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs.

But LaRoque's attorney, Joseph Cheshire of Raleigh, told jurors that his client only took the money that he was owed and that the entire federal probe was due to an attack from the liberal media against LaRoque who was a conservative lawmaker.

N.C. Policy Watch's online investigative story on LaRoque preceded the federal indictment of the legislator by several months.

Judge Howard told jurors the trial could take several weeks.


Previous Story

Jury selection is now complete in the federal trial of a former state lawmaker from Lenoir County.

Former State Representative Stephen LaRoque of Kinston is accused of theft, fraud and filing false tax returns.

The trial is being held at the Federal Courthouse in Greenville before Judge Malcolm Howard. Testimony is scheduled to get underway this afternoon.

Howard told a pool of some 50 potential jurors that the trial could take up to two weeks. He said there are numerous witnesses and a lot of paperwork.

Federal prosecutors allege the Kinston Republican scammed taxpayers to finance a lavish lifestyle that included $2.1 million in salary payments and $300,000 in interest-free personal loans used to buy a house, new cars, an ice-skating rink and a collection of jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs.

LaRoque's lawyers say he's not guilty because he was legally entitled to the money.

LaRoque was elected to three terms in the N.C. House and served as the powerful co-chairman of the House Rules Committee. He faces a maximum sentence of 96 years in federal prison.


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