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July 23 is the latest hearing date to be set for N.C. Rep. Cody Henson, R-Transylvania, who has been charged with cyberstalking, after his attorney successfully requested a third consecutive continuance on Tuesday.
Henson had a first court appearance on the Class 2 misdemeanor charge on March 28, when his hearing was set for May 2. On May 2, Henson received his first continuance to June 26. On June 26, the case was continued a second time to Tuesday, when it was continued a third time to July 23.
Interviewed outside the Transylvania County courthouse Tuesday by Carolina Public Press, the lawmaker’s attorney, J. Michael Edney, attributed the delay to legislative necessity.
“They needed him in Raleigh,” said Edney, who is also a county commissioner in Henderson County.
The General Assembly is currently negotiating a budget with Gov. Roy Cooper. Republicans have a majority, but one that’s too small to override a veto from the governor unless some Democrats side with the GOP. As a result, each party is conscious of how many votes it has on hand.
Asked about other cases involving public officials in which repeated continuances have sometimes been a prelude to the charges being dropped, Edney responded, “This one is going to go away sooner or later.”
The N.C. Attorney General’s Office is handling the prosecution of the charge against Henson because the local district attorney, Greg Newman, had contributed to the legislator’s campaign and recused himself.
CPP asked the Attorney General’s Office about the latest continuance and Edney’s remarks. DOJ spokesperson Laura Brewer responded in an email late Tuesday, saying the department could not comment on the open case.
The charge against Henson stems from allegations that he repeatedly called and texted his estranged wife despite her requests for him to stop. A judge granted her request for a domestic violence order of protection against him earlier this year.
Henson was charged criminally following a Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office investigation. At his initial court appearance in March, presiding Judge Roy Wijewickrama ordered that firearms be taken away from Henson.
Henson, who was elected to his second term in the N.C. House of Representatives in November, represents Transylvania and Polk counties and part of Henderson County. He has rejected demands for him to resign but has said he will not seek re-election in 2020.
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