Cannon Plea Deal Brings New Allegations

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by Will Kennedy
Bio | Email | Follow: @willkennedynews

CHARLOTTE, NC -- It's part of a plea deal that has been unsealed now, 10 weeks after Cannon's arrest. The maximum sentence for that single admission of guilt: 20 years in prison.

Legal experts tell WCCB Charlotte that he could only serve a fraction of that time.

"Everybody wants the lawyer to get them out of it. Sometimes you can't, and the best that you can do is cut the best deal possible," says defense attorney and legal analyst George Laughrun.
 
Laughrun has been involved in some big cases in Charlotte. As an outsider, he thinks both sides brokered a good plea in the Patrick Cannon case.
 
An agreement signed May 8, and kept secret until now, includes a new bribery allegation. The Bill of Information says Cannon took a cash payment of around $2,000 from a businessman in exchange for influencing the relocation of an adult entertainment club away from the proposed Blue Line extension. Speculation is that the business was the now shuttered Twin Peeks, owned by David "Slim" Baucom.
 
The Bill of Information claims Cannon set up meetings with zoning and transit officials to help the club stay open.
 
Former mayor Richard Vinroot had this to say about the allegations: "Felt sick to my stomach when I heard this story a month or so ago, and I had a repeat feeling of that today," says Vinroot.
 
"I think what Charlotte needs to do is make sure they have systems in place where this kind of thing can never happen again," says North Carolina Governor, and former Charlotte mayor, Pat McCrory.
 
Patrick Cannon is charged with one count of honest services wire fraud, carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Laughrun says based on Cannon's cooperation, and sentencing guidelines, the judge could sentence him to as little as four years in prison.
 
"Is he going to get jail time? Probably, based on the plea agreement. You know, how much time remains to be seen."
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