North Carolina Senate candidate found liable in civil suit

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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North Carolina Republican Senate hopeful Greg Brannon was found to have misled investors to put money into a start-up technology company, a jury decided Tuesday.

In 2010, Brannon, a doctor who is running under the banner of the tea party, was sued by Lawrence Piazza and Salvatore Lampuri, both of whom invested in a start-up technology company that Brannon promoted and served on the board of. The two allege that Brannon and his partner, Robert Rice, misled them into believing that Verizon was considering including the new technology being made by the company in its then-unreleased Droid phones. That never happened, and the talks with Verizon were allegedly about an advertising deal.

Piazza and Lampuri invested $250,000 in the company, and were suing Brannon and Rice to get it back.

The jury on Tuesday decide that Brannon has misled the two investors, WRAL reported, but let Rice off the hook. Brannon is now responsible for helping to repay the quarter million dollars to Piazza and Lampuri.

“I completely disagree with this verdict and feel that I was treated unfairly by the court,” Brannon said in a statement. “I will defend my integrity and will be appealing this decision.”

Brannon’s campaign manager, Reilly O’Neal, did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment. Brannon never testified on his own behalf during the trial, as the investors’ lawyer pointed out Tuesday.

Brannon is vying with state house speaker Thom Tillis, Pastor Mark Harris, and several other candidates for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. He has been endorsed by Freedomworks and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, among others.

As WRAL points out, the verdict is fertile ground for political ads from Brannon’s competitors. The primary is set for May 6.

*This post has been updated for clarity.

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