RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WNCN) – A federal judge has agreed to block for now any enforcement of a state law in a political ad investigation of North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s campaign.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles ruled Monday for Stein’s campaign and others who recently sued State Board of Elections members and the Wake County district attorney.

Eagles declared Stein’s campaign is likely to win on legal claims that the law is unconstitutional.

The campaign for Jim O’Neill filed the complaint in 2020 with the State Board of Elections about a advertisement produced by Stein’s campaign.

The speaker in the ad said O’Neill, who was the district attorney in Forsyth County since 2009, “left 1,500 rape kits sitting on a shelf.”

The complaint from O’Neill called the assertion of the 1,500 evidence kits “false and defamatory” and argues a district attorney “is never in the chain of custody” when those kits are submitted to the crime lab for testing. The complaint continued that law enforcement agencies “do not ask and are not required to ask the District Attorney for authorization or permission” to submit those untested kits to a lab.


The law Eagles blocked for now prohibits circulating false information about a candidate with a goal of hurting their election chances.