State Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey continued testimony Thursday morning in the federal bribery trial of insurance businessman Greg Lindberg. Lindberg and two of his associates are accused of trying to funnel $2 million to Causey in political contributions in exchange for removing a senior deputy in his office who was part of the regulation of Lindberg's insurance companies. WFAE political reporter Steve Harrison spoke to Michael Falero from the federal courthouse in Charlotte.
Michael Falero: Steve, yesterday Causey detailed how he says Lindbergh and two associates offered him political contributions and how he came to work with the FBI and wear a wire. So what's new today?
Steve Harrison: So this morning we've heard recording after recording that Causey made of his conversations with Lindbergh and his two business associates. They were talking about that plan to replace the senior deputy at the Department of Insurance with someone more suitable to Lindberg. And at one point, the plan was for Causey to bring in one of Lindberg's business associates for the job. But then Causey says on tape he's worried that's too obvious. And they're going to ‘end up on the front page of the Raleigh News and Observer,’ and that Lindberg says, ‘OK, we can hire someone else.’
And then this is the key point. We can hire someone else that we approve of. And then the men talk about the money that they're going to put in Mike Causey's his campaign.
Falero: And so what do we expect to happen this afternoon?
Harrison: So we're gonna have more of the same. There's eight more recordings to go of their phone conversations and probably cross-examination. The defense will start on Friday. Their view is that Causey’s the bad guy and he set up Lindberg.
Go behind the headlines with WFAE political reporter Steve Harrison in his weekly newsletter, Inside Politics. Steve will provide insight about and analysis of local and statewide politics. Readers will gain an understanding of political news on the horizon and why it matters.
While you're at it, go ahead and take a listen to our companion podcast: “Inside Politics: The RNC in Charlotte,” hosted by Steve Harrison and Lisa Worf.