Raleigh, NC - The Office of Governor Pat McCrory released the following highlights from Chief Legal Counsel Bob Stephens’ media availability this morning:
On hiring outside counsel:
“I recommended to the governor, that in this voter ID litigation, that we needed to have our own outside counsel. I did it because of the comments that the attorney general has made, starting back in August.
“I was concerned then, and I am concerned today that comments that he made that have been critical of this legislation has compromised his ability to represent the state of North Carolina. I know you’ve seen the comments but just to give you an example here’s one, and this is one that was actually quoted in the federal lawsuit that was filed yesterday. They literally quote our attorney general. He is quoted as saying 'the legislation was regressive and would make it harder for people, working people to vote during the early voting period.' The attorney general also criticized other provisions and called the photo requirement as 'unnecessary, expensive and burdensome.' Now I look at that and I ask myself, ‘How can somebody say something like that and then turn around and represent the people of North Carolina in this litigation?’ I concluded that I don’t think he can.
“And for that reason we have hired outside counsel.
“To give you another analogy, ask yourself this question: If you were charged with a crime, would you want to hire a lawyer who had gone out on a street corner and announced publicly that you were guilty? Would you want to have that lawyer represent you?
“So, I concluded that we needed, the governor needed, to have outside counsel, and in fact, that is what we have done.”
On being in touch with the Attorney General’s Office:
“We’ve talked with the Attorney General’s staff; the actual attorney generals who will be involved, and I’ve found them to be talented. They have terrific reputations. They appear to be the type that are willing to roll up their sleeves and work hard. I’m very pleased with that part. I’m just concerned about the atmosphere that the comments that the attorney general has created, that it created.”
On bringing in attorney Butch Bowers:
“We’re very fortunate to get Butch Bowers for this case. Butch Bowers has been through this battle. He represented the state of South Carolina in 2012 in litigation that was slightly different because they sued the federal government; but same, very similar litigation that we’re faced with right now. So he’s been through the wars. He’s very bright, very talented. And he’s formerly a member of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. in the voting rights section. He knows the lawyers that signed this complaint that was filed yesterday. He worked with them. He knows how they think, and I think he’s going to be a terrific asset to us.”
On any potential conflicts of interest with Butch Bowers:
“No, not at all. And we did a complete check of all of his clients for conflicts and other issues. I’m very comfortable with that part of it.”