Cannon Corruption Charges Fallout: Wife Loses Job

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by Morgan Fogarty
Bio | Email | Follow: @morganfogarty

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - "What do you advise a client (in that position)? You look and say, well, the feds have come.  There's an old expression: you shoot the king, you better hit him," says prominent Charlotte defense attorney George Laughrun.  

Fair to say the FBI has hit Patrick Cannon.  The scathing criminal complaint is the tip of the iceberg, says Laughrun, who is not involved in the case.  Laughrun says the feds win 95 percent of their cases. He expects this to be no different and points to an ace in the hole for prosecutors: Cannon's wife, Trenna.  Laughrun says, "Here it sounds like she may be an active participant.  What would you go to Vegas for and get 1,000 dollars from a developer?" 
 
Cannon and his attorney, Jim Ferguson, have likely been presented with all of the evidence the FBI has collected against him over the course of this four-year investigation; much more than what is included in the paperwork made public so far.  Laughrun says there are likely hours and hours of audio recordings and videos particularly, from that SouthPark apartment Cannon's accused of using at least more than half a dozen times. 
 
"That's a big incentive to say, I don't want that video played in court, or any grand jury proceedings, or whatever," says Laughrun.  
 
If Cannon gets convicted at trial, a judge could increase his time behind bars based on the amount of money that changed hands, the abuse of trust, and the amount of harm caused.  If Cannon accepts a plea deal, he may serve fewer years behind bars, but he has to start dealing early to demonstrate he accepts responsibility, and he's got to cooperate.
 
Laughrun says, "Are there any city employees involved, and state employees involved? Any other potential elected officials involved? Any contractors involved? Any bar owners, restaurant owners? You know, alcohol permits are hard to get sometimes. Did somebody grease the wheels behind the scenes? You've got a lot of nervous people, probably, down at City Hall." 
 
Cannon's attorney filed court papers waiving a preliminary hearing.  Legal experts say that could keep the case from going to a federal grand jury until next month.
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