George Holding — the scion of the family which owns First Citizens Bank — has had a charmed life. Ol’ George has always been in the right place at the right time.
He got a great job with the late Senator Jesse Helms, and an appointment to the US Attorney’s office in Raleigh. When then-US attorney Frank Whitney got appointed to a federal judgeship, Holding got promoted to the top job in the USA’s office. Under Whitney, work had already begun on a number of political corruption cases such as The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, Governor Mike Easley, and Senator John Edwards.
In the Robeson County case, Holding was criticized by law enforcement officers working the case — as well as federal judge, and fellow Helms alum, Terrance Boyle — for foresaking “throwing-the-book-at-’em” tactics for quick-and-easy dispositions. Sources familiar with that investigation say that Holding avoided the harsher charges because that would have meant arguing in court before a judge — something that he is not very good at. That may explain why he avoided the AG race against Roy Cooper like the plague.
Holding talked himself into a tenure extension when Barry-O moved into 1600 Penn, claiming that he was working some good stuff on Easley and Edwards. Easley got off with basically a slap on the wrist, much to the consternation of the cops working the case and Judge Boyle.
Holding ran for — and won — the GOP nomination for the 13th congressional district seat in the U.S. House by touting his record as a tough prosecutor. In the Robeson County case, many of the sentences have been overturned or reduced. Easley, of course, got his hand-slap.
Today, we are awaiting a verdict on John Edwards. If Edwards gets completely exonerated, or only gets popped on minor charges, it will become painfully clear that “the emperor” — Holding — has no clothes. He will have taken over great cases established by his predecessor and effectively screwed the pooch on them all. My bet is that the Holding campaign is praying for Edwards being found guilty on all counts.