Former House Speaker Jim Black's sentencing in federal court has been postponed indefinitely while a judge receives arguments as to whether he should recuse himself from the case.
U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III said in an order filed this afternoon that he would not sentence Black on May 18 as originally planned. Black, 72, a Mecklenburg County Democrat, is facing as much as 10 years in prison on a charge of corruptly accepting things of value. He has admitted to accepting $29,000 from three chiropractors while pushing legislation favorable to their profession.
Dever's order did not set a new date for Black's sentencing. A date has also not been set for Black's sentencing in state court on bribery and obstruction of justice charges.
They and the federal charge relate to Black's paying former Rep. Michael Decker $50,000 in early 2003 so that Decker would switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and support Black for speaker.
The switch led to Black and former Rep. Richard Morgan, a Moore County Republican, serving as co-speakers in 2003 and 2004. Black then won the speakership outright in 2005. He is one of only two House speakers who have held the position for four terms.
Staff Writer Dan Kane can be reached at (919-829-4861 or