FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday - October 2, 2003
RALEIGH - Frank D. Whitney, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announced today a superseding indictment in the case of United States v. Meg Scott Phipps, 47, of Haw River, N. C. The original indictment was returned on September 4, 2003, and contained various charges related to the investigation of the Meg Scott Phipps Campaign 2000 for Commissioner of Agriculture, and subsequent events during her tenure in that position. A federal grand jury sitting here returned the 30-count superseding indictment today.
Two new counts are added to the indictment. New Count Twenty-Six charges extortion under color of official right with respect to $2,000.00 in cash, which the indictment alleges Meg Scott Phipps received from a representative of an independent food concessionaire at the 2001 North Carolina State Fair. New Count Twenty-Seven charges bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and relates to the same payment allegedly received by Phipps. (Counts Twenty-Six, Twenty-Seven, and Twenty-Eight of the original indictment have simply been renumbered as Counts Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine, and Thirty.) Minor changes were made to paragraphs 42, 44, 81, and 91 of the Introduction to the indictment. Also, a Forfeiture Notice was added, giving notice to the defendant that property obtained as a result of the alleged offenses or used to facilitate said offenses may be forfeited to the United States if there is a conviction in the case.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Trial in the matter is tentatively scheduled for November 10, 2003. The investigation is continuing.
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