McCrory's Chief of Staff Accuses Scientist of Perjury Without Reading Deposition
A few months ago, in response to a leaked deposition by Dr. Ken Rudo, McCrory's chief of staff, Thomas Stith, rushed out with a late night press conference in which he accused Rudo of perjury. Now it turns out that Stith hadn't even read the deposition when he held his press conference. Stith had very little information regarding this case, only knowing what others in the McCrory administration told him. He also refused to answer any direct questions about coal ash pollution in his deposition, leading us to wonder what exactly the McCrory administration is hiding.
“My understanding is the governor did not participate in the meeting,” Stith testified. “So my thought would be he couldn’t have made a statement to Dr. Rudo.”
Ellis has been Stith’s sole source of information about the matter. As of September 1st, a month after the press conference, Stith still had not confirmed the events and allegations with the governor. Nor had Stith spoken with Davies or anyone from the NC Department of Environmental Quality, he testified.
He did discuss Rudo’s deposition “with my family and my pastor,” Stith said.
According to court documents, Stith was represented by outside counsel hired by the McCrory’s office, Dickson Phillips, III and Erik Zimmerman of a Chapel Hill firm and and by the governor’s general counsel, Bob Stephens and Jonathan Harris.
During the deposition, Phillips repeatedly told Stith not to answer questions about coal ash. However, court documents say, Phillips didn’t claim privilege, nor did he follow state rules of civil procedure, which requires the respondent to seek a court order to prevent him or her from responding.
“He is not a scientist,” Phillips told the SELC. “We don’t think he has any competent evidence to offer in this case.”