George Holding’s background is a campaign consultant’s dream come true. He’s the scion of the First Citizen’s Bank empire, a former aide to U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, and a former U.S. attorney who presided over high-profile political corruption probes. Holding is currently trying to capitalize on that resumé by running in the GOP primary for North Carolina’s 13th congressional district. On paper, he looks like the perfect candidate. However, those who have worked with him say you shouldn’t believe his press clippings.
I have two good friends in law enforcement who worked quite close with then – U.S. Attorney Holding’s office. (For the purposes of this article, I will refer to them as Agent A and Agent B.) The mainstream media gives Holding all kinds of credit for probes against Mike Easley, John Edwards, and The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office. Agents A & B tell me those probes all got started under Holding’s predecessor Frank Whitney, who got appointed to a federal judgeship by George W. Bush. According to Agent A:
“It was almost like we were working against Holding. We had built up tremendous cases. We’d have meetings to review our findings. Holding and his staff — instead of looking for the strongest possible case — always started off looking for the quickest way to cut a deal and get the matter off the docket. It was a real slap in the face to the field agents who worked so hard to build those cases. ”
Agent B said Holding’s predecessor had a much more aggressive approach to the job than Holding did. Agent B said one of Holding’s aides told him that Holding didn’t like to try cases — because he was so weak in that area — and did everything he could to avoid the courtroom. Agent B said Holding and his team were frequently berated by U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle — also a Helms alum:
“Judge Boyle was frequently riding them. He’d review the evidence, and see a very strong case. Then, he’d look at the weak, piddly charges Holding’s office was bringing, and he’d lose it. Like us, he couldn’t understand why the U.S. Attorney wouldn’t swing for the fence when a fastball came his way.”