Under the Dome

Dome: Blackwater had a use for Sharia law

Staff writersMay 16, 2013 

Q. What North Carolina company wanted to use Islamic law in the United States?

The private military contractor Blackwater.

House bill 695, which was approved 69-42 on Thursday, forbids foreign laws from being used by courts, arbitrators, mediators or agencies in legal proceedings such as divorce, child custody, child support or alimony.

The bill was narrowed to get it passed before the crossover deadline. A broader bill never went further than a House committee in the last session.

Opponents of Sharia like Rep. John Blust of Greensboro say Islamic law is “creeping” into this country. “It is stated within those who are pushing it, that is their goal: to have this type of law rule the world,” Blust said.

But a North Carolina company once had a different use for Sharia law.

In 2006, Blackwater wanted to use Sharia to escape responsibility for a botched flight that killed three soldiers and the flight crew. Under Sharia law, employers are not liable for harm done by their employees. Federal judges opted to stick with U.S. law, despite the company’s entreaties.

Blackwater and its insurers settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.

Edwards on speaker’s circuit

Former presidential contender John Edwards has reactivated his license to practice law and is setting out on the speaking circuit, the Associated Press reports.

The former U.S. senator and 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee is scheduled to appear June 6 at a private retreat in Orlando, Fla., for lawyer clients of the marketing firm PMP, according to AP.

Edwards has remained largely out of public view since his acquittal in May 2012 on one charge of campaign finance fraud. A judge declared a mistrial on five other criminal counts after jurors couldn’t agree whether Edwards had illegally used campaign money to hide his pregnant mistress as he ran for president in 2008.

An itinerary says Edwards will speak for about 45 minutes as part of a program titled “Historic Trials of the Century.” Edwards earned millions as a personal injury lawyer before entering politics.

Hagan likes Revlon

The Open Secrets blog notes that U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan sponsored three different bills last year that would have reduced tariffs on eyelash curlers, pedicure and manicure sets – all of which benefited Revlon, which has a plant in Oxford.

The blog notes: “Hagan has another connection with Revlon – MacAndrews & Forbes, the conglomerate that owns Revlon, was the 19th largest donor to her campaign committee in 2012.” The company’s PAC gave her campaign $10,000, and individuals affiliated with the company (including two lobbyists working for the firm) gave an additional $9,500. Revlon’s PAC also gave $2,500 to Hagan’s leadership PAC.

McCrory appoints judge

Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday announced the appointment of Jeffrey Hunt to be an N.C. Special Superior Court judge in the western part of the state.

Hunt previously served as District Attorney for the 29B Prosecutorial District, which includes Henderson, Polk and Transylvania counties. He began his career in law as a partner with the firm Long, McClure, Parker & Hunt.

“I’m pleased and proud the governor has illustrated his confidence in me by appointing me to this special Superior Court judgeship, which will be headquartered in the Western part of the state,” Hunt said in a statement.

Staff writers Joe Neff, John Frank and Lynn Bonner

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