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North Carolina prosecutor removed for ‘willful misconduct’

April 27, 2021 GMT

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A western North Carolina district attorney is being removed from his elected office after a judge issued an order finding the prosecutor engaged in “willful misconduct.”

The removal of Greg Newman, the top prosecutor for Henderson, Polk and Transylvania counties, is only the third of its kind in state history, the Asheville Citizen Times reported Tuesday.

The judge’s decision followed a grassroots campaign by families of crime victims who alleged Newman had mishandled cases and failed to prosecute felonies.

Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin issued an order Tuesday finding Newman had engaged in “willful misconduct in office” and “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the office into disrepute.”

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According to the removal order, Newman was to leave office and lose his pay immediately.

A hearing on the issue was held earlier this month. Newman, who was appointed in 2013 by then-Gov. Pat McCrory and subsequently won re-election, testified he had done his job properly.

David Freedman, an attorney for Newman, told The Associated Press Newman was grateful for the chance to serve the community and that he hopes to continue doing so “in some capacity.”

Newman can appeal but there’s been no discussion yet about whether to do so, Freedman said.