Thursday, August 9, 2007

Lay could have record expunged, practice law

Can anyone confirm? [see updates below-ed.]

If McHenry roomie, staffer, and alleged felon Michael Aaron Lay fulfills the requirements of his plea deferment deal, it can be like it never happened. That's what I've been told but I can't quite believe it.

May we all be blessed with Locke Bell as our prosecutor, eh?

What a nice guy. I wonder if McHenry is giving him back his donation. Hey, Locke, would you return my phone calls, please?

The photographer got giggled for this shot of DA Bell, but you can still get the idea. Happy defense lawyer (center) looks on while perpetrator, in black, and prosecutor make nice. It's sweet.

UPDATE: This is what the Hickory Record is reporting, a guilty plea but he can sit for the bar.

HICKORY -- A former campaign worker of U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor election fraud Thursday.

Michael Aaron Lay, 26, must serve 100 hours of community service and pay a $440 fine. He will be on probation for six months. If he meets those criteria, the charges will be dismissed.

The plea agreement entered in Gaston County Superior Court addressed felony charges that alleged Lay voted illegally in Gaston County in the 2004 primary and primary runoff elections. Lay pleaded instead to “two attempts to do voter fraud,” said Thom Goolsby, Lay’s attorney.

Lay was not available for comment Thursday, but Goolsby was pleased with the case’s quick resolution. Lay was charged in May and indicted by a grand jury last month.

Goolsby said Lay, who graduated from the University of Tennessee’s law school this year, can now sit for the North Carolina State Bar exam in February.

UPDATE NUMBER TWO: Because the charges were reduced to misdemeanors, that's why our young man can still do the legal thing. I guess that's how they convinced him (since Monday) not to fight the charges.

Also note that the Charlotte Observer (who actually had the nerve to call 16-hour-old news in the next county "breaking," along with the Hickory paper posted this in the wee early hours so it would be buried by early-morning news the next day . . .

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