GARY D. ROBERTSON
RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Gov. Pat McCrory's top legal adviser is questioning whether North Carolina's attorney general has compromised his ability to defend the state from a federal lawsuit alleging new Republican-backed voting changes are intended to suppress minority voter turnout.
Chief legal counsel Bob Stephens said Tuesday comments last month by Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper opposing the new voting law left the state's GOP governor no choice but to hire an outside lawyer. McCrory has retained at taxpayers' expense a South Carolina lawyer with close ties to the Republican Party who bills $360 an hour.
Cooper reiterated Tuesday it is his duty as both an elected official and legal professional to vigorously defend the state in court, even if he personally disagrees with arguments made by his office.
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