Ex-NC Congressman Says He Was Targeted Unfairly

A former North Carolina congressman now out of federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy says prosecutors targeted him unfairly.

Democrat Frank Ballance was released from home confinement last month after serving 3 1/2 years. He told WRAL-TV in an interview aired that Tuesday that he never should have been behind bars.

He pleaded guilty in 2004 to conspiring to divert taxpayer money to his family and others through a charitable organization he helped start while in the state Legislature.

Ballance said he didn't get a fair shake and prosecutors threatened to charge his elderly mother unless he pleaded guilty.

U.S. Attorney George Holding in Raleigh said there was no evidence that statements in court wrongly swayed Ballance's case.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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