The Transylvania Times -

Newman Disputes N.C. Bar's Claims – Transylvania County, NC

 

August 22, 2019

District Attorney Greg Newman disputes the N.C. State Bar’s recent reprimanding of him for professional misconduct after its grievance committee reviewed an anonymous complaint that Newman violated rules related to conflicts of interest while serving as district attorney.

The reprimand comes with an administrative fee of $350 and is an official record of permanent discipline issued by the association. In 2016, while Newman was serving as the district attorney to Transylvania, Henderson and Polk counties, an attorney brought Newman a “motion for appropriate relief” and the striking of a plea for a former private practice client Newman had represented in 2007, according to the letter of reprimand issued to Newman.

The letter states that Newman signed the motion to grant relief to the client (named “C.B.” in the letter) from charges C.B. pleaded to under Newman’s representation in 2007, and that Newman then dismissed the charges entirely in 2016. C.B. pleaded guilty to felony possession of a schedule II controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia in 2007 under Newman’s representation, and, in 2016, another attorney filed a “motion for appropriate relief” on behalf of C.B., alleging that C.B. was not aware of entering the plea or did not understand the consequences of doing so.

The state bar found Newman’s “actions in this matter while serving as District Attorney implicated the conflict of interest rules and violated…the rules of professional conduct.” In addition, the letter states Newman, “knowingly made a material misrepresentation of fact in (Newman’s) response to the Letter of Notice concerning (his) knowledge of (his) prior representation of C.B.”

Newman does not believe there was a conflict of interest and said he didn’t remember representing C.B. when the motion for relief was brought to him in 2016.

“A former client of mine…back in 2006 or 7, through another lawyer, made a request in 2016 for some relief from his conviction,” said Newman in a phone interview. “I didn’t remember the case or the client. I was in private practice for 13 years. I represented a lot of people in that period of time and so there was nothing remarkable about the case that would have caused me to remember it.”

Since Newman said he did not remember representing C.B. when the motion was brought to him, his actions in 2016 were not influenced by any prior history with C.B.

“The Bar says I have a conflict of interest,” Newman said. “I would agree with that if I was doing something to harm the person – something to his detriment…I considered his request the same as I would anyone else. And I felt he merited the help, so I signed the document that allowed him to request a judge to reconsider his case. So, I agreed to sign that and I did that. And so the Bar was contacted. They said I had a conflict of interest. And I disagree with that.”

Newman also disagreed with the finding that he made a material misrepresentation about whether he represented C.B. or not.

“That bothered me when they said that (in the letter) because by virtue of the fact that I didn’t seem to remember specifics from 2016 when I signed it,” he said. “They take that as a misrepresentation, and I have a real problem with that. It makes it sound like I’m being less than truthful or outright lying or something and that’s just not the case.”

Newman says he will continue to hold people accountable when they break the law, and also help people out where he can.

“I think I have a legal and moral obligation to do that, but I think the Bar’s concern, truthfully, is misplaced,” he said.

 
 

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