The N.C. Democratic Party wants the Wake County District Attorney’s Office to open a criminal investigation into statements that Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill made during his 2020 race to unseat N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein.
The party claims that O’Neill, a Republican, violated a state law prohibiting false and derogatory statements that could hurt a candidate’s chances at getting elected. O’Neill narrowly lost to Stein in the general election in 2020.
Wake County prosecutors have been pursuing potential criminal charges against Stein, a Democrat, for what O’Neill claims was a false and defamatory political ad that aired in 2020. O’Neill said the ad falsely pegged him as responsible for 1,500 untested rape kits being held at law-enforcement agencies in Forsyth County. O’Neill is currently running against retired judge Denise Hartsfield for a fourth term as Forsyth County district attorney.
The Democratic Party’s demand comes a day after U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles refused to block a state law underpinning the Wake County District Attorney’s Office criminal investigation into Stein’s political ad.