District attorney on trial after hiring fellow DA’s wife
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A former district attorney is acting as his own lawyer as he stands trial on felony charges after prosecutors say he hired a fellow district attorney’s wife and paid her when she didn’t work.
Wallace Bradsher attacked the credibility of almost every witness as the trial opened this week, from the woman he hired to her district attorney husband and the State Bureau of Investigation agent assigned to the case.
Prosecutors said Bradsher was chief prosecutor in Person and Caswell counties when met with then-Rockingham County District Attorney Craig Blitzer at a pizza parlor about four years ago and arranged to hire each other’s wives.
Blitzer pleaded guilty in a deal where if he testified against Bradsher and stayed out of trouble, the plea would disappear. He testified he had a job and work for Bradsher’s wife to do.
But Blitzer and a State Bureau of Investigation agent testified after Blitzer’s wife finished a few jobs for Bradsher, her boss told her just to concentrate on taking nursing classes and kept paying her $48,000-a-year salary but not assigning her work.
Bradsher said he had no idea Blitzer’s wife wasn’t working and was being paid and he thought she was doing her work at night and on weekends.
Blitzer came to Bradsher after finding out Bradsher’s wife was working for him. Blitzer testified his family needed extra money because he took a pay cut going from a private attorney to a public prosecutor.
Bradsher said his wife helped him pick juries and other courtroom work.
“Judge after judge after judge rotated through that district . every six months . every judge that came in was introduced to Pam as my wife,” Bradsher said.
But court administrators told both men hiring their wives would violate ethics law.
The SBI began investigating the district attorneys after a former employee’s lawsuit mentioned the arrangement. SBI agent David Whitley testified Bradsher seemed cooperative, but he soon realized the prosecutor was sending him on what he called “wild-goose chases.”
Bradsher told him he had permission for the arrangement he didn’t have and promised a list of special project and cases she worked on, but never gave it to investigators.
The trial is expected to take several weeks.