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The Mark Harris Saga Continues . . . maybe

Dec 4, 2023 — At a hearing/non-hearing today in a Wake County court, we learned that a trial date may finally be set for Woody Hester, the last man standing in Bladen County’s infamous “voter fraud” investigation that North Carolina’s Democrat-RINO cabal used to oust Mark Harris from his duly elected congressional victory in 2018.

The case record raises lots of questions about the handling foot dragging, which was first filed on July 31, 2019, nearly four and a half years ago but has never so much as had an arraignment hearing.

Bladen County’s Woody Hester

Delays abound in this case because of Hester’s need for a public defender. As soon as he gets one, they all seem to follow a pattern more helpful to the prosecution than to their client. In many instances, the attorney pressures Hester to strike a plea bargain deal and when Hester demands his day in court, the attorney comes up with an excuse to get out of the case. Then, the courts appoint a new public defender and the cycle is repeated.

The latest public defender assigned to the case is an attorney whom court records refer to as “Ms Weatherly.” She received the case from James Clarke Ferguson in an August 16, 2023 court document.

The Case Events site for Hester’s prosecution lists appointment dates for some–but not all–of Hester’s revolving-door attorneys. From what we can tell, the following public defenders have somehow been involved with his case:

  • The mysterious Ms. Weatherly
  • James Clarke Ferguson, who withdrew from the case on Aug 16, 2023.
  • Phillip Hunter Liles, who was “notified by email” on Jan 31, 2023
  • Christy D Highsmith, “notified by email” on Jan 27, 2023
  • Peter M. Wood, “notified by email” on Dec 7, 2022
  • Kevin Matthew Boxberger, “notified by email” on Aug 5, 2019

On August 5, 2019, the court appointed Wake District Attorney, Lorrin Freeman to prosecute the case.

Since that date, Hester’s arraignment hearing has been postponed or “continued” five times. This means that he has never had the chance to plead guilty or not-guilty.

Today’s Episode

Hester was told by Attorney Weatherly to attend today’s hearing under the presumption that today was the day he was going to enter a not-guilty plea. In short, he was led to believe it would be his arraignment hearing.

Normally, in public defender cases, the clients all stand around in the lobby outside the courtroom waiting for an attorney to call out their name. Often, this is the first time the client and attorney have met in person.

In Woody’s case, his latest defender, Weatherly, never called out his name. Instead, his former defender, James Ferguson, flew out of the courtroom and approached Hester.

“They just called your name out in the courtroom,” he said. “Have you seen your attorney yet?”

“No,” said Hester.

“I’ll text her now,” said a breathless Ferguson as he began texting on his phone, and added, “Text me right away if you hear from her,” as he scurried back into the courtroom.

About ten minutes later, a court officer announced that the courtroom was now open and everybody in the lobby began flowing into the courtroom.

Woody shrugged at me and I suggested we go in and see what happens.

We hadn’t been in our seat for more than a minute when Ms. Weatherly, walking from the front of the courtroom, stopped beside Woody and said, “Mister Hester, you’re free to go.”

“What happened?” he asked her.

As she kept walking toward the door, she spoke to him over her shoulder, “We’re going to try to get you a trial date.”

By then, we both jumped up, but I followed further behind, in order to afford them attorney-client privacy.

A follow-up call to DA Freeman’s office confirmed that they were trying to get a trial date set for “Spring 2024.”

All of this happened after Hester paid $22 to park his truck and $44 in gas for the two-hour drive from Bladenboro to Raleigh.

Why Hester’s Case Matters

Former Bladen BCE member Jens Lutz

Hester’s indictment (see page 20 of the “Legacy Complete Case Scan” on this page) charged him with two counts of “Conspiracy to Commit Felony Obstruction of Justice” and one count of “Possession of Absentee Ballot.” Key to the indictment are the two conspiracy counts, because they link him with Leslie McCrae Dowless, whose case was delayed long enough by Freeman for him to pass away before he could ever exercise his constitutional right to face his accusers in court.

Hester insists on his innocence and has adamantly argued, “Why should I admit to doing something that I didn’t do?”

Unlike Mr. Dowless, Woody Hester has never been arrested and tells me, “I’ve never even gotten a speeding ticket.” and he has been demanding his day in court.

In particular, Hester is itching to cross examine Jens Lutz, a key witness who made himself scarce during 2019’s 5-day kangaroo court proceeding. That was when Harris fumbled his words and was then threatened with perjury prosecution if he didn’t resign before being sworn in as a Congressman. He later was cleared of any wrongdoing.

It is widely speculated that Lutz’ April 23, 2018 interview with law enforcement officials and election investigators was the trigger event for the targeting of Dowless and his allies, Hester among them. Like Dowless, Hester insists that he can prove Lutz lied about some things and failed to mention other key facts in the interview, which VIP first reported here.

Several odd events suggested that Lutz, then a Bladen County Board of Elections member, played a key role in a media leak of 162 un-redacted absentee ballot envelopes, which included images of signatures that are supposed to be protected under NC law. Three days after the documents were leaked, Lutz resigned from his Board seat, but he was never called to testify about his actions.

Lutz is just one example of why this case needs to be tried in open court, but a witness named Precious Hall proves there are others.

The Bottom Line

Puzzled over the twists and turns this case has taken, we consulted criminal defense attorneys who are familiar with Wake County courts and with the Mark Harris’ 2019 congressional coup. Before I close with their questions, let’s review the facts:

  • This case has been drawn out for more than four years without even getting an arraignment.
  • Dowless was never allowed to cross examine any of the witnesses against him.
  • Public defenders keep pressuring the defendant to accept a plea deal.
  • The same public defenders keep making excuses to jump out of the case.
  • The prosecutor has political ambitions that may even include running for Attorney General.
  • An elected congressman was forced out of office over over this hubbub.
  • The key witness to the this entire investigation has never testified under oath.

Now for the questions:

What happens to the poor little public defender who embarrasses the powerful Lorrin Freeman, if they accidentally win this pathetic case?

Who was really behind the targeting of Dowless while never touching anybody else for the absentee ballot fraud that’s endemic to Robeson and Bladen Counties?

And most importantly, what truths are NC’s “deep state” afraid will emerge in open court?

~ jd