Could it be because the former Gaston County District Attorney had a conflict of interest? Now, I know lawmen are supposed to recuse themselves when friends, family, or business cohorts are involved. Does that include politicians they've publicly endorsed? When an entire election cycle goes by with no charges and tons of evidence, you have to wonder.
And we know that former DA Michael Lands was quite the McHenry pal. If you scroll down to the bottom of the front page of the Donnie Young Exploratory Website, you'll see that Lands, as well as assistant district attorneys Craig Collins and Bill Stevenson appear on a list of McHenry's supporters on his campaign website. Gee, I think, if they'd stayed in office, they might have needed a few more years, even decades for that simple investigation.
(See a small copy of that page at upper right.)
But maybe there was no conflict of interest. Maybe they were just intimidated.
In the Shelby Star, McHenry accuses the current prosecutor of political bias:
McHenry, a Cherryville Republican . . . called the charge political.Former McHenry Chief of Staff Jason Deans had this to say:
“This is the culmination of a three-year smear campaign againstMethinks Mr. Dean doth protest too much. That they are attacking the messenger rather than the perpetrator is no surprise since McHenry learned all he knows at the feet of Karl Rove. The way McHenry went after Pelosi for her plane and Democrats for the timing of the Foley emails, everyone involved must have known that he would go after the DA for even the most well-founded legitimate charges.
Congressman McHenry, his campaign workers and supporters,” said Jason Deans, a spokesman for McHenry’s political campaign. “This case is much like the Duke lacrosse case in that a politically motivated district attorney sought an indictment against a young man without even granting him an interview.”
Lands and Bell said this to the Shelby Star:
Former District Attorney Mike Lands, now a District Court judge, received the investigative file into Lay’s case from the State Board of Elections in mid-November and then gave it to Bell in mid-December, he said.But I'm not convinced by what Lands and Bell say publicly. It sure looks like Lands dragged his feet on this case. The attacks on Bell make it clear life must have been rough for the former prosecutor and his assistants. The public deserves to know why it took so long.
Lands said he told Bell that this case would be waiting for him when he took office Jan. 1.
Bell offered a similar account, saying he “inherited” the case. “The investigation began under Mr. Lands and it was completed under me,” he said.