Former Rockingham District Attorney will testify against Former Caswell/Person County District Attorney in upcoming lawsuits.
In an effort to escape prison time, Former Rockingham District Attorney Craig Blitzer pled guilty on July 17 and has agreed to testify against Former Caswell/Person County District Attorney Wallace Bradsher in three court cases: an investigation by the North Carolina State Bar, criminal hearings involving Bradsher and a whistleblower lawsuit brought by one of Bradsher’s former employees.
Both District Attorneys were charged with one count of misdemeanor failure to discharge the duties of their office in connection to a “Wife Swap” scheme where the men hired each other’s wife.
According to Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, who is in charge of prosecuting the case, Blitzer’s wife was never assigned any work at Bradsher’s office and instead she was enrolled full-time as a nursing student at South University in High Point. Freeman said there was no evidence that Pamela Bradsher did not work for her salary and although she was hired to work in Blitzer’s office, she instead worked with Bradsher.
“Looking at the face of the indictments, Mr. Bradsher was failing to supervise Cindy Blitzer as an employee of his office. Mr. Blitzer was charged with failure to discharge duties by misusing a position in his office by allowing it to be fulfilled by someone who would then work in Bradsher’s office in exchange for his wife continuing on the payroll,” explained Freeman.
Freeman added that when bringing charges she had to determine “what priorities are important in being able to resolve the case in a way that held the individuals responsible for this accountable and provide for the state ultimately to be repaid some of the money.”
Freeman told Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens that the Blitzer had repaid $48,000 to the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts before appearing for his hearing. That amount is the total of his wife’s salary for the 15 months she was employed in the DA’s office.
Blitzer claims that Bradsher spoke with him about hiring his wife after Blitzer told him he was concerned about making a lower salary as a District Attorney. Bradsher allegedly told him that Pamela Bradsher had been employed by his office for nearly four years and that Blitzer would be able to hire his own wife. Soon after taking office, however, N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts officials notified both men that they no longer could employ their wives because of ethics laws. That is when the men decided that their wives should switch offices.
Pamela Bradsher stayed in Blitzer’s office for eight months before resigning. At that time, Blitzer said that Bradsher told him to hire Tyler Henderson and he would keep Cindy Blitzer on the payroll. It is not clear why Bradsher wanted Henderson to be hired. According to Freeman, Henderson had refused to cooperate with SBI agents in the investigation.
Bradsher’s criminal hearing is scheduled for August 3. Wallace Bradsher , Blitzer, their wives and employees from their offices will still face a judge in a whistleblower lawsuit brought by a former employee in Bradsher’s office.
On Feb. 21, Bradsher’s former legal assistant Debra Halbrook accused Bradsher of firing her months before she would have been fully vested in her retirement as revenge for her having reported him and Blitzer to the SBI.
The complainant, Debra Halbrook, was working as a legal assistant in Bradsher’s office when she uncovered the alleged crimes. She says in the complaint that after Bradsher suspected she was the informant, he fired her in a “fit of rage”.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit Wallace W. Bradsher, Jr., Craig M. Blitzer, John Hoyte Stultz, III, Luann W. Martin, Gayle H. Peed, Pamela F. Bradsher, Cindy L. Blitzer, The Office Of The District Attorney For Prosecutorial District 9a, And The State Of North Carolina.
The Whistle Blower complaint, verified by Halbrook’s Attorney, Lee Farmer, also states, “Upon information and belief, as a result of Ms. Halbrook reporting Defendants’ crimes to the SBI, law enforcement has since uncovered evidence of additional potential crimes involving Defendant Bradsher and his office. These crimes include:
(a) accepting bribes, kickbacks, and other gratuities, including meals, alcoholic beverages, and vacation rentals, from Joe Weinberger, a criminal defense attorney in Person County, who has a traffic ticket practice with multiple cases pending with Defendant Bradsher’s office;
(b) alleged sexual misconduct within the District 9A DA’s Office;
(c) alleged misuse of grant funds;
(d) alleged mischaracterization of indictment statistics to secure unwarranted Judicial Branch funds; and
(e) allegations that in exchange for Defendant Bradsher’s support for a state trooper’s campaign for sheriff, a state trooper chauffeured Defendant Bradsher to the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club in Durham, where Defendant Bradsher rented a room and met with women.”
Upon hearing of the lawsuit in February, Bradsher released a statement saying, “The scandalous lies that I have read today in a lawsuit filed by a former employee are deeply disappointing and hurtful; especially this former employee’s attempt to disparage her former co-workers.”
Gov. Roy Cooper appointed former Forsyth County District Attorney Tom Keith to fill Craig Blitzer’s position after the Rockingham District Attorney resigned suddenly on March 10. Wallace Bradsher resigned on May 19 and former Orange County prosecutor Jacqueline Perez was named interim district attorney for Person and Caswell counties. There will be an election to name new District Attorneys in November, 2018. The Interim District Attorneys will serve until the newly elected DAs take over in January of 2019.
According to the News and Record, Stephens told Blitzer, “You did a couple of things right. One- You gave up your office almost immediately. Two- You paid back the $48,000 your wife received in the scheme created by the other district attorney. Three- You agreed to cooperate with the pending investigations.”
The North Carolina State Bar will decide if Bradsher and Blitzer should lose their license to practice law.