Rather than owning up to his crimes and taking his punishment like a man, Jim Black, the former speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives, remained defiant, denying to the end yesterday that he paid bribes to another legislator so he could remain in power.
Sure, Black paid lip service to the guilty plea he entered in March to one count of accepting things of value in connection with the business of government, mumbling a half-hearted apology for his “stupid” mistakes.
But the words of Ken Bell, his expensive mouthpiece from Charlotte, uttered on his behalf later in the hearing showed his true feelings.
Bell continued to maintain that the only thing Black did wrong was accept illegal contributions and that it was “aberrant behavior.”
He moaned that the five-year, three-month sentence given to Black was too harsh for “what he actually did,” and he argued that Black should be allowed to remain free so he could run a free optometry clinic for the underprivileged.
Nice try, but no cigar.