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NC ethics panel declines to dismiss counts against Wright

RALEIGH (AP) -- A House ethics panel has rejected requests by lawyers for Rep. Thomas Wright to dismiss misconduct counts against him. The committee said Monday the case will continue against the Wilmington Democrat. The members disagreed with arguments by Wright's attorneys that the House didn't have authority to investigate him. The panel last month accused Wright of eight counts of misconduct involving loans for his foundation, charitable contributions and his failure to report $185,000 in campaign contributions. The counts mirror charges in a criminal indictment against Wright. Wright can defend himself against the counts in a hearing scheduled for March 3 and 4, but that may be delayed if Wright's criminal trial is under way. The committee could recommend that the full House censure Wright or expel him from the chamber. (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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