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Wright hearing begins after attorney claims racial bias

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RALEIGH (AP) -- A state attorney says Rep. Thomas Wright repeatedly engaged in unethical and criminal conduct by misusing more than $340,000 in loans and campaign contributions while in office. Special deputy attorney general Bill Hart made the allegations during opening arguments before a legislative panel on Monday. The six-member committee is considering seven counts of ethical misconduct that are nearly identical to criminal charges against Wright. Wright's attorney said his client has been unfairly targeted. Douglas Harris said the allegations against the eight-term Democrat equate to racial bias. He told panel chairman Rep. Rick Glazier that a special House committee wasn't created to consider ethics charges against a white legislator who faced similar allegations last year. (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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