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Former NC Rep. Robin Hayes Pardoned By Trump

North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes addresses delegates on the first day of the North Carolina Republican Party State Convention at the Wilmington Convention Center in Wilmington, N.C., Friday, June 2, 2017.
Mike Spencer

In one of his final acts as President of the United States, Donald Trump granted 73 pardons and commuted 70 sentences early Wednesday morning.

One of the people to receive a pardon from Trump is former North Carolina Congressman Robin Hayes, a Republican who pled guilty in 2019 to lying to the FBI.

Hayes was involved in one of the state’s most notorious corruption cases, accused of participating in a scheme to bribe Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.

An elder statesman of the North Carolina GOP, Hayes was the chairman of the state’s Republican Party when a federal grand jury indicted him on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bribery and three counts of making false statements to the FBI. The 75-year-old was sentenced to a year of probation and fined $9,500 last August while two others were convicted. Durham billionaire businessman Greg Lindberg is serving a seven-year sentence for his involvement.

Trump granted Hayes a full pardon. A statement from the White House says that Sen. Thom Tillis and “several members of the North Carolina Congressional delegation strongly support clemency” for Hayes.

Additionally, NC Rep. Mark Walker endorsed a commutation for Eliyahu Weinstein, a New Jersey man who served eight years of a 24-year sentence for real estate investment fraud that cost investors more than $200 million. Rep. Dan Bishop supported a pardon for Patrick Lee Swisher, a Charlotte businessman who was convicted of tax fraud and false statements.

A native of Concord, Hayes is a graduate of Duke University. He served in the State House, representing the 90th District from 1993 to 1997. In 1999, he was elected to Congress as the representative for North Carolina’s 8th District. He was re-elected four times, but lost his 2008 bid to Democrat Larry Kissell. Hayes was also the 1996 Republican nominee for Governor, but was beaten soundly by incumbent Democrat Jim Hunt.

In addition to Hayes, two other former Republican congressmen – Rick Renzi of Arizona and Duke Cunningham of California – received pardons from Trump. The President also granted pardons and commutations to rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Mitchell Northam is a Digital Producer for WUNC. His past work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, SB Nation, the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press. He is a graduate of Salisbury University and is also a voter in the AP Top 25 poll for women's college basketball.
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