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Prosecutors recommend probation for ex-N.C. Rep. Hayes

Prosecutors asked a judge on Monday to give a former North Carolina congressman no prison time for lying to the FBI about his role in a plan to try to bribe the state’s top insurance regulator with large political contributions.

The U.S. attorneys made the probation recommendation for Robin Hayes, who pleaded guilty in October to making a false statement in 2018 to FBI agents conducting an investigation while Hayes was state Republican Party chairman. The recommendation is in keeping with sentencing guidelines, the government said, and the request of Hayes’ lawyers in June.

Hayes was among four men indicted last year on charges involving efforts to give campaign money to help state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey in exchange for Causey removing an official in his department. Hayes entered a plea agreement.

Insurance company magnate Greg Lindberg and consultant John Gray were convicted in March of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and bribery. Another defendant was acquitted. Hayes, Lindberg and Gray are to be sentenced Aug. 19 by U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn. Causey wasn’t accused of wrongdoing and helped agents in the case, including by recording conversations.

Monday’s memorandum said Hayes lied even after being presented evidence that his statements were untrue. Agents played a recording of Hayes, Lindberg, Gray and Causey agreeing that the state GOP would contribute $250,000 to Causey’s campaign, the memo said.

“Nevertheless, Hayes has since admitted that his statements were untrue, pleaded guilty, accepted responsibility and agreed to cooperate with the government,” the prosecutors wrote. Hayes’ sentencing guidelines range from no prison time to six months’ imprisonment, the memo said.

Hayes, who turns 75 on Friday, represented the 8th Congressional District from 1999 through 2008. He served as GOP chairman from 2011 to 2013 then from 2016 to 2019. He also was a 1996 gubernatorial candidate.

The government hadn’t released sentencing recommendations for Gray and Lindberg as of Monday.

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