A Durham man accused of selling bread as gluten-free that contained gluten tried to get his felony charges reduced by implicating an innocent man in the murder of state school board member Kathy Taft.
The details came out Monday in court after Paul Seelig refused to accept a plea deal worked out with prosecutors. Seelig, 48, faces nine felony fraud charges for selling bread as gluten free that contained gluten. People complained to state investigators about getting sick after consuming bread they bought from Seelig's company, Great Specialty Products. State officials sought a judge's order to close down Seelig's business in late January. He was arrested on criminal charges in early February.
In March, Taft, 62, of Greenville, was found injured in the Raleigh home of a friend. She later died. It took investigators six weeks to charge unemployed musician Jason K. Williford, 30, with Tafts murder and rape.
Before Williford's arrest, prosecutors said Seelig offered information about Taft's killer in exchange for some consideration on his felony charges. Assistant District Attorney Jason Waller said Seelig implicated an innocent person in Taft's murder.
Seelig had been expected to plead guilty Monday but Waller said the defendant refused to accept the plea deal.
Instead, Seelig was arraigned on felony charges. Citing Seelig's false statements about the Taft murder, his criminal record and the fact that prosecutors will now seek additional indictments, Wake Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens increased Seelig's bond to $750,000 at the prosecutors' request.