11/12/10 — Braxton accused of assault over sign

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Braxton accused of assault over sign

By From staff reports
Published in News on November 12, 2010 1:46 PM

KINSTON -- Lenoir County authorities are investigating an allegation that state Rep. Van Braxton assaulted a man while trying to retrieve one of his campaign signs last week.

According to the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office, investigators are trying to determine what occurred when Braxton, 59, went to retrieve one of his campaign signs last Thursday from the home of Ray Wiley, 50, on Falling Creek Road west of Kinston.

Braxton, a Democrat, lost a re-election bid to Republican Stephen LaRoque on Nov. 2.

According to reports, Braxton's wife first tried to retrieve the sign on Election Day, but was ordered off Wiley's property by the owner. Braxton later returned with another man to get the sign.

Wiley came to the Lenoir County magistrate's office to file an assault charge against Braxton. No charges were filed, but according to Sheriff Billy Smith, District Attorney Branny Vickory has asked the sheriff's office to continue to investigate the incident. Smith said that after the investigation is complete, the magistrate will determine whether charges are warranted. He said his officers are continuing to interview witnesses.

No one was injured. Braxton could not be reached for comment.

The sign apparently had a red circle drawn on it and a line drawn through the circle.

Braxton represents District 10 in the state House. The district includes all of Greene County, most of Lenoir County and four precincts in southeastern Wayne County.

LaRoque held the seat prior to Braxton. Their campaign this year was especially nasty, with LaRoque eventually filing a lawsuit claiming that some of Braxton's fliers falsely accused LaRoque of causing the failure of a local business, putting 35 people out of work.