NC political donor’s conviction overturned by appeals court

FILE – This undated file photo provided by Robert Brown Public Relations shows Greg Lindberg. U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn scheduled sentencing on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, for insurance magnate Lindberg, John Gray and former Rep. Robin Hayes for their roles in trying to bribe the state’s top insurance regulator. (Robert Brown Public Relations/Greg Lindberg via AP, File)

RALEIGH — Greg Lindberg, who was convicted on counts of bribery involving discussions with the North Carolina insurance commissioner’s office, saw the conviction overturned by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday.

The conviction was vacated and a new trial on the matter was ordered by the federal appeals court in a 3-0 decision.

According to Raleigh TV station WRAL, the federal appeals court said the judge who tried the case two years ago gave the jury bad instructions on a key element of the case. Those instructions, regarding just what makes an “official act” under federal bribery law, led the three-judge panel to vacate Lindberg’s conviction and order a new trial.

Lindberg has long been confident in his appeal.

“I am confident the Fourth Circuit will either reverse the verdict or remand the case for a new trial. The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that a judge cannot instruct a jury on a finding of fact, as the district court did in my case. In essence, the district court directed the guilty verdict,” Lindberg wrote in an open letter in August 2020.

He began serving a seven-year sentence in October 2020.