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By MICHAEL BIESECKER
Associated Press

DURHAM, NC (AP) — Lawyers for Durham County’s embattled top prosecutor are presenting their case at a judicial hearing to decide whether she should be permanently removed from office.

Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline’s attorney began his defense Friday with a series of requests seeking to dismiss the case on procedural and constitutional grounds. Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood denied those motions.

Cline was suspended last month based on accusations of misconduct she levied against Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson. If Hobgood finds Cline brought her office into disrepute and undermined public confidence in the justice system, he could permanently remove her.

Such a special inquiry has been held only once before in North Carolina. That was nearly 20 years ago, after a New Hanover County DA was accused of using an ethnic slur.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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