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Former D.A. to face trial in August

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By Brian Slattery

Former District Attorney Rex Gore’s trial date was set for Aug. 19 in Brunswick County Superior Court on Monday.

Gore was indicted by a grand jury Aug. 20, 2012, on one count of felonious conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense.

Elizabeth Carlisle, administrative assistant to current D.A. John David, said the Attorney General’s office is handling the prosecution of Gore and requested a special session for the trial.

That trial is expected to take place in Brunswick County unless a motion to change the venue is filed, she said.

Also indicted last August was former assistant district attorney Elaine Kelley.

Carlisle said Kelley’s trial date was held open Monday but could be set Thursday.

Kelley was indicted on one count of obtaining property by false pretense and one count of felonious conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense.

According to Noelle Talley, public information officer for the North Carolina Department of Justice, the indictment states “on or about” a time period between May 2005 and December 2010, Gore “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously” entered into an agreement with Kelley to submit false expense reports in order to receive monetary reimbursement for travel expenses she did not incur. Kelley subsequently was paid more than $14,000 that she wasn’t entitled to during that time period, according to the indictment.

In 2011, the N.C. Bureau of Investigation investigated Gore, who served as district attorney for Brunswick, Columbus and Bladen counties for nearly 20 years before being defeated in the May 2010 primary election.

Prosecutors also began investigating Kelley, a senior prosecutor with more than 20 years of experience in the Bladen County office, who resigned in February 2011.

At the time of his indictment, Gore issued a statement asserting he hired Kelley in the spring of 2005 to supervise prosecutions in the Bladen County unit of the D.A.’s office.

“Because she was going to be commuting 500-plus miles per week, I included a travel component in her compensation package,” Gore’s statement reads. “It was a choice that I felt I could make because of the broad discretion the elected district attorney has in handling compensation issues. I had several options available.”

Gore stated he ultimately chose a travel-mileage plan that limited Kelley to 125 miles for commuting.

“I have no reason to doubt that each week she claimed that mileage, she consistently traveled at least that many miles,” Gore stated.

Gore said that shortly after he left office at the end of 2010, his authority to approve Kelley's compensation package came into question.

“Eighteen months later, my decision has resulted in this charge,” Gore's statement reads. “I had no intent to overstep my authority.

“While I am disappointed and disagree with the decision to prosecute, I am a strong believer that our jury system is designed in such a way that we ultimately reach right decisions,” Gore continues. “I am anxious to get this controversy resolved.”

 

 

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.