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NC Attorney General Accused of Ethical Misconduct
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Josh Stein voter ID

Summary: Attorney General Josh Stein of North Carolina has been accused by the state legislature of severe ethical misconduct during a voter ID case.

Lawyers for the North Carolina Legislature believe their state Attorney General committed serious ethical misconduct before the United States Supreme Court. Josh Stein is accused of acting as a fact witness at trial and then serving as the lawyer in the case, a severe ethical misconduct that has gotten other attorneys disbarred.

  
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Lawyers are asking the Supreme Court to recognize their defense of election integrity laws like vote ID laws and to ignore Stein’s attempt to overturn an appeal to preserve the laws. Stein won the 2016 election, making him North Carolina’s attorney general. Before that he was a fact witness for a case attacking the state’s election integrity statues.

To prevent unethical actions, lawyers are prohibited from acting as both a fact witness and the attorney of record in the same case. Stein should have recused himself but instead he filed a motion to dismiss a Supreme Court appeal to preserve voter ID.

They filed a pleading with the Supreme Court stating, “This motion is intended to ensure that North Carolina’s 2013 election reform laws – including a photo ID requirement – receive their due defense in this Court, notwithstanding North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s unauthorized (and ethically questionable) effort to withdraw the State’s pending petition for certiorari.”

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In January after being inaugurated, Stein filed a motion to completely dismiss the appeal of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling prohibiting the state’s voter ID law. Stein never consulted with the legislature – his client – before filing the motion. The legislature also retained a private firm to defend the voter ID law. The motion to dismiss that Stein filed also sent a notice to the firm that they could no longer represent the legislature.

North Carolina has a proven voter fraud issue. Careless same-day registration laws allowed illegal votes in such a high number that one election has to be done a second time. Governor Roy Cooper said, “We need to make it easier for people to exercise their right to vote, not harder, and I will not continue to waste time and money appealing this unconstitutional law.”



Stein also made a side deal with the plaintiffs in the case, the NAACP and others, to forgo up to $12 million legal fees if the case was dropped.

Do you think Stein did anything wrong? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about North Carolina’s drama, read these articles:

Stein Photo: commons.wikimedia.org



 

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