The Latest: Hartsell gets suspended sentence in state court

May 19, 2017 - 12:16 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a state court hearing for a former North Carolina legislator investigated for the misuse of campaign dollars (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

Former North Carolina state Sen. Fletcher Hartsell has received probation in state court after pleading guilty to three counts of filing false campaign reports.

Friday's sentencing by Wake County Judge Donald Stephens comes three days after a federal judge sentenced Hartsell to eight months in prison for charges related to a multi-year campaign finance investigation. Federal prosecutors said he used more than $200,000 in campaign funds for personal benefit, such as for vacations, speeding tickets and haircuts.

Under sentencing laws, Hartsell could not have received prison time for the state charges. His unsupervised probation is for 18 months.

Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman told Stephens she was satisfied that the federal prison term and other punishments were enough for Hartsell. Stephens told Hartsell it was unfortunate for Hartsell's public service career to end this way.

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3:30 a.m.

A former North Carolina legislator receiving prison time this week for federal crimes related to the misuse of campaign money now is expected to have state charges against him resolved.

A court hearing is slated for Friday in Wake County involving ex-Sen. Fletcher Hartsell. The Concord Republican was indicted last year on three felony counts of filing false campaign reports.

A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced Hartsell to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to federal tax and fraud counts. An investigation alleged he used more than $200,000 in campaign funds for his personal benefit. The probe found Hartsell used the funds on items like vacations, speeding tickets and haircuts.

Hartsell was the longest-serving senator when he decided not to seek re-election last fall after 26 years.

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