AP, August 27, 2008
Former Rep. Thomas Wright was found guilty of felony obstruction of justice on Wednesday and sentenced to prison after his second conviction this year for political corruption.
The Wilmington Democrat was accused of preventing election officials from carrying out their duties as they investigated his failure to report $150,000 in campaign contributions over a seven-year period. Wright, already serving six to eight years in prison for fraud, was sentenced Wednesday to between six and eight months in prison. He will serve the terms concurrently.
During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence showing Wright failed to report all of his campaign contributions between 2000 and 2007 and made it difficult for election investigators to learn about the money. Wright also transferred almost $77,000 from campaign bank accounts to his personal accounts or converted them into cash, according to evidence presented earlier Tuesday.
Wright, 53, is already serving a roughly six- to eight-year prison term after being convicted of fraud in April. Less than three weeks earlier, he became the first sitting North Carolina legislator to be expelled from office by his own colleagues in 128 years.