Quantcast

Former NC Rep. LaRoque to get retrial - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Former NC Rep. LaRoque to get retrial

Posted: Updated:
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Former N.C. Rep. Stephen LaRoque will get a re-trial on a dozen felony convictions due to juror misconduct, a judge ruled Tuesday.

With wife on his arm and cameras following closely, LaRoque spoke to reporters for the first time since his criminal trial kicked off last summer.

"I’m looking forward to the new trial and proving my innocence," he said.

A jury convicted LaRoque on 12 felony convictions for stealing, then spending federal money and covering it up. U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm J. Howard made the retrial ruling in light of juror misconduct after Juror No. 3, Jerry Miller, admitted to doing online research during deliberations, which is not allowed.

LaRoque’s lawyers argued it tainted the verdict and stripped their client of his right to an impartial jury.

"Where the real danger is, is allowing jurors to convict American citizens on evidence that's not presented in the courtroom,” said Joe Cheshire, LaRoque's defense attorney.

Judge Howard agreed, throwing out two convictions months ago, then voiding the remaining ones in the retrial hearing.

Lead prosecutor Dennis Duffy declined to comment outside the courtroom. But inside, he argued the progression of the case put them in “dangerous territory.” Duffy said after getting slapped with guilty verdicts, LaRoque and his lawyers tried to get as much information as possible about the content of jury deliberations, which should be kept more or less private.

Duffy said granting LaRoque a retrial would set a “terrible precedent” for losing defendants to “harass” and “exploit disgruntled jurors” after a trial wrapped, thus injuring the jury deliberation system. He argued Juror No. 3 was “mad he was told he was guilty of misconduct” and could not be trusted as a credible source because his story kept changing.

But Judge Howard said federal prosecutors could not prove Miller’s outside research had no significant impact on other jurors or other counts. He plans to detail his decision in-depth by filing a court order within 48 hours.

Meanwhile, LaRoque is relieved and ready for another battle in the courtroom.

"We’re going to hopefully be able to show the jury that I’m not guilty and that I didn't steal anything,” he told 9 On Your Side’s Katie Banks. “I didn't defraud anybody and I look forward to my day in court."

But another day in court means more of your taxpayer money must pay for it.

“Do you feel like this was a waste of taxpayer money, this three-week trial for the government to go after him and now we're starting again from scratch?" 9 On Your Side asked Cheshire.

“Well, there's an old saying there's an awful lot about an awful little,” he responded. “I will let the public make their decision about that."

Federal prosecutors have 30 days to file an appeal. If that happens, the case goes to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Va.

LaRoque will be in court again on Tuesday, Feb. 25, to get approval for switching attorneys from Cheshire to Greenville defense lawyer Keith Williams, and approval for the means to pay for it.

--- Original Article ---

A former North Carolina lawmaker, convicted on several counts of fraud and money laundering, will get a new trial.

A judge overseeing a hearing on the matter granted former state representative Stephen LaRoque's request for a new trial just after noon on Tuesday.

LaRoque made his way into the Greenville courtroom this morning with two items on his agenda; asking the judge to approve of him switching attorneys and for a retrial.
  
Last June, a jury convicted LaRoque on a dozen felony counts after a three-week trial. But the judge later tossed out two of those counts when a juror admitted to doing online research of the case during the trial.

"I'm looking forward to the new trial and proving my innocence," Stephen LaRoque told reporters after leaving court this afternoon.
    
We'll bring you the latest from the courtroom coming up today at 5 and 6.

To read an in-depth history of LaRoque's trial, click on the links below:

 http://www.wnct.com/story/23033806/laroques-retrial-hearing-postponed-until-feb

http://www.wnct.com/story/21014631/laroques-trial-delayed-until-february

  • Don't Miss It!More>>

  • Hundreds attend Mass for saint's return to Hawaii

    Hundreds attend Mass for saint's return to Hawaii

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:50 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:50:43 GMT
    The remains of a saint known for caring for exiled leprosy patients have been returned to Hawaii.
    A white hearse pulled up to the entrance of a downtown Honolulu cathedral Thursday, carrying the remains of a saint known for caring for exiled leprosy patients.
  • Passenger dies, pilot hurt in parking lot crash

    Passenger dies, pilot hurt in parking lot crash

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:16 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:16:51 GMT
    A small plane clipped the top of a store before it crashed in the parking lot of a San Diego shopping center, killing an 80-year-old passenger and seriously injuring the 52-year-old pilot, authorities said.
    A small plane clipped the top of a store before it crashed in the parking lot of a San Diego shopping center, killing a 78-year-old passenger and seriously injuring the 52-year-old pilot, authorities said.
  • Crop circle in Germany attracts many visitors

    Crop circle in Germany attracts many visitors

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:09 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:09:45 GMT
    Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles.
    Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles.
  • PoliticalMore>>

  • Congress votes final passage on highway bill

    Congress votes final passage on highway bill

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:44 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:44:00 GMT
    Congress has approved a bill to prevent a 28 percent cut in federal highway and mass transit aid at the height of the summer construction season.
    Congress gave final approval Thursday to a $10.8 billion bill to keep federal highway funds flowing to states through the summer construction season and the fall elections.
  • Congress oks VA, highway bills, not border measure

    Congress oks VA, highway bills, not border measure

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:27 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:27:10 GMT
    Congress is racing to wrap up legislation addressing chronic problems at the Veterans Affairs Department and a shortfall in highway money ahead of its five-week summer break.
    Congress ran full-tilt into election-year gridlock over immigration Thursday and staggered toward a five-week summer break after failing to agree on legislation to cope with the influx of young immigrants flocking...
  • USDA overhauls decades-old poultry inspections

    USDA overhauls decades-old poultry inspections

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:27 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:27:08 GMT
    The Obama administration is overhauling poultry plant inspections for the first time in more than 50 years, a move it says could result in 5,000 fewer foodborne illnesses each year.
    The Obama administration is overhauling poultry plant inspections for the first time in more than 50 years, a move it says could result in 5,000 fewer foodborne illnesses each year.
  • Mugshots

  • Most Recent SlideshowsMore>>

  • AP PHOTOS: Coal-exporting town fights rising seas

    AP PHOTOS: Coal-exporting town fights rising seas

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:56 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:56:37 GMT
    Norfolk is trapped between the causes and consequences of global warming.
    Norfolk is trapped between the causes and consequences of global warming.
  • AP PHOTOS: Cambodians attend Khmer Rouge tribunal

    AP PHOTOS: Cambodians attend Khmer Rouge tribunal

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:36 AM EDT2014-07-30 12:36:41 GMT
    By The Associated Press Buddhist monks and ordinary Cambodians attended a hearing Wednesday in which a U.N.-backed tribunal prepared for the genocide trial later this year of two surviving...
    By The Associated Press Buddhist monks and ordinary Cambodians attended a hearing Wednesday in which a U.N.-backed tribunal prepared for the genocide trial later this year of two surviving leaders of the...
  • AP PHOTOS: Face of Syrian war seen in youngest

    AP PHOTOS: Face of Syrian war seen in youngest

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 4:28 AM EDT2014-07-30 08:28:08 GMT
    At Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp near the border with Syria, the horror of the neighboring country's civil war can be seen in the faces of its youngest refugees.
    At Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp near the border with Syria, the horror of the neighboring country's civil war can be seen in the faces of its youngest refugees.
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.