Former NCGOP chairman pleads guilty to lying to federal agents

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP/WNCN) – The former chairman of North Carolina’s Republican Party has admitted he broke the law by lying to federal agents about his role in an alleged effort to bribe the state’s top insurance regulator to help a major GOP donor.

Robin Hayes pleaded guilty Wednesday to making a false statement to the FBI. Prosecutors said in his indictment that he agreed to use the party to funnel $250,000 to state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey’s reelection campaign at the request of insurance magnate Greg Lindberg and an associate.

Court documents filed last week say Hayes lied to FBI agents in August 2018 by denying he had talked to Causey about replacing the state official examining Lindberg’s company.

Through a spokesperson, Causey declined to comment on Wednesday’s guilty plea, citing the ongoing federal investigation.

Hayes served in Congress from 1999-2009. He continued to serve as chairman of the state GOP after his indictment earlier this year but ceased to take part in the party’s daily activities.

The trial against Lindberg and his associates is scheduled to start in November but defense attorneys have asked for it to be delayed, citing the volume of evidence.

Hayes was not sentenced Wednesday. Court documents show a potential sentence of zero to six months in prison. In the plea agreement, prosecutors wrote they plan to recommend a sentence “at the low end” of that range. The judge did not set a sentencing date.

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