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Prosecutors: No need for judge to step aside in Black sentencing

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RALEIGH (AP) -- Prosecutors say today that a federal judge overseeing former House Speaker Jim Black's sentencing should not step aside from the case.

Black's attorneys have argued that Judge James C. Dever the Third should be removed because he was one of the lawyers who sued Black and other state officials several years ago over the redrawing of state House and Senate districts.

The state Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dever's clients, forcing Black and other lawmakers to redraw the districts.

Prosecutors say despite the previous lawsuit there is no reason to question the judge's impartiality.

Black pleaded guilty in February to one count of accepting things of value in connection with state government business. He faces up to ten years in prison.

He was to be sentenced next week but the judge delayed the hearing. It has not yet been rescheduled.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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