RALEIGH — Tracey Clines defense is unchanged.
In filings late last week, the former Durham County district attorney and her lawyer denied a complaint by the N.C. Bar and asked for a delay of a scheduled disciplinary hearing.
Cline was removed from office in March after a judge found she had acted with malice and reckless disregard for the truth in her criticism of another judge. That same complaint is among the 14 ethics violations brought against her in May by the Bar, which is the states regulatory agency for lawyers.
The complaint focused on Clines written criticism of Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson, who she accused of moral turpitude, dishonesty and corruption. The Bar in its May complaint said the charge was false.
But in Clines response, her attorney, James R. Van Camp, maintains that Cline was acting out of a sense of justice when she made the high-profile criticism. And, beyond simply answering the Bars charge, the Thursday filing includes a further answer section that largely reiterates Clines attack on Hudson.
Cline sincerely believed there was no other action which could prevent the immediate and present harm she perceived to the people of Durham County other than requesting that Judge Orlando F. Hudson, Jr. recuse himself, the filing states.
The document also answers, in part, the Bars charge that Cline made false representations as she sought prison visitation records for inmates featured in a News & Observer series about Cline. Van Camp denies that the request was unjustified.
A three-judge panel is set to hear the matter in a five-day session beginning in October. However, Clines lawyer has requested the Bar delay the hearing while Cline appeals her removal from office.
Neither Van Camp nor Bar attorneys were available for comment Saturday afternoon.
State Bar rules say that disbarment shall be considered if a lawyer engages in acts of dishonesty, misrepresentation, deceit or fabrication.