As silly as it sounds, Haywood County and Congressional District 11 GOP official Ted Carr of Bethel filed an assault charge against Paul Yeager, claiming that… wait for it… Yeager poked Carr in the chest.
No kidding. Literally, Carr claimed that Yeager assaulted him by poking him in the chest while calling him and others liars in front of the HCGOP booth at the Haywood County fair back in August 2017.
Today after three continuances, none of which were requested by the defense, the case was tried. The judge concluded that the state had failed to present sufficient evidence to support the charge, and Yeager was acquitted.
The proceedings were quite entertaining, starting with the testimony of Ted Carr himself. Poor Ted looked quite uncomfortable when his own testimony demonstrated that Carr had approached Yeager to confront him regarding Yeager’s statement that the HCGOP booth was manned by a group of liars.
This was followed by the testimony of Carr’s wife Pat (also a HCGOP official), which was rather mundane, but notable in that it did not confirm Carr’s claim that Yeager had touched him.
Next we had Debbie King, HCGOP Vice Chair, whose testimony was long on emotional content and also a bit short on logical consistency. King claimed that she first saw Yeager as she was heading towards her car to retrieve something and Yeager was entering the building. She claimed that she was so afraid of Yeager that she decided not to go to her car, but to enter the same building Yeager was entering. Let that sink in. She was so afraid of Yeager that she chose to go towards him rather than away from him. Several times during her testimony, King spoke of how “uncomfortable” Yeager’s behavior made her feel, but she didn’t leave the area. King also had a cute story of an “in your face” encounter with Yeager that was not corroborated by any other testimony and is disputed by Yeager and other witnesses. King also did not corroborate Carr’s claim that Yeager had poked him.
The Oscar nomination for Best Performing Actrees in a Supporting Role in the prosecution’s testimony must go to Lynda Bennett (another HCGOP official), who went on at great length about her heroic efforts to separate Carr and Yeager during the confrontation, event to the point of allegedly forcing a chair between Carr and Yeager to separate them. This allegation was also uncorroborated by other testimony and is disputed by Yeager and other witnesses. Bennett was yet another witness whose testimony failed to corroborate Carr’s claim of being poked in the chest.
Finally we had the testimony of a Public Information Officer from the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office. A nice young lady, but all she had to offer was that she heard some noise, but could not make out what was being said, nor could she see what happened, and that someone came to her and asked for a deputy to be sent to the HCGOP booth.
One amusing part of the proceeding came when Yeager denied that he had yelled, and stated there is a difference between raising one’s voice and yelling. The prosecution asked what that might be, and Yeager offered to demonstrate. The prosecution invited him to do so, and Yeager yelled “THIS IS YELLING”, whereupon the judge threatened Yeager with jail if he did that again.
In summary, four of the five witnesses told significantly different stories about the same event. The fifth witness was not in a position to witness the event. What does that tell us?
Readers of this story might be well advised to view it as somewhat of a cautionary tale. Someone like Ted Carr can go before a magistrate, swear that you did something, and the resources of the State of North Carolina will be used to prosecute you, regardless of evidence or lack thereof at the time of the charge. How much did the taxpayers of Haywood County and North Carolina pay for this attempt at legal slander?
Watch your six. Some of those who perceive themselves to be in power will do all they can to malign anyone they perceive to be a threat to that power.