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Ethics panel to decide if Wright used public office to get loan

RALEIGH (AP) -- The ethics panel investigating Representative Thomas Wright has found enough evidence against the indicted state lawmaker to hold a public hearing. House Speaker Joe Hackney said Wednesday that the Legislative Ethics Committee will probably meet in February. If the panel recommends removing Wright from office, the full House would vote on the punishment. Wright was indicted this week on charges of obstruction of justice and fraud, which largely relate to $160,000 in bank loans prosecutors say Wright received under false pretenses. The committee will look only at whether Wright used his elected office to obtain a loan. Hackney said a separate House panel will look at allegations contained in the indictments. Wright has refused to resign despite requests from Hackney and Governor Mike Easley. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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