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NC Senate weighs Reconstruction governor's pardon

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A North Carolina governor removed from office during Reconstruction could be absolved of wrongdoing by the same body that convicted him exactly 140 years ago.

The Senate scheduled debate Tuesday on a resolution pardoning the late Gov. William Woods Holden. He was removed from office after the Senate convicted him on March 22, 1871, for six counts related to his effort to stop violence by the Ku Klux Klan. He was the first governor removed from office in the United States.

Holden brought in a state militia to quell an insurrection in Alamance and Caswell counties and held some people without due process rights. Legislators from the party now known as Democrats led the impeachment effort.

The bipartisan sponsors of the pardon bill say it's time to clear Holden's name.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-22-11 0405EDT

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