A North Carolina district attorney says two assistant prosecutors are no longer working for him following a report by The Associated Press on a church where they are members.
Ex-congregants there say officials beat members and derailed criminal investigations.
District Attorney David Learner said in a statement Friday that he can't let the integrity of his office be called into question.
The announcement came two days after Learner requested a State Bureau of Investigation probe into prosecutors Frank Webster and Chris Back and four days after an AP story about the men.
Ex-members of Word of Faith church in Spindale told the AP Webster and Back provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member.
Statement from the DA's Office:
“Assistant District Attorney Frank Webster and Assistant District Attorney Chris Back are no longer employed by the 25th Judicial District. Assistant District Attorney Lance Sigmon will be the Chief ADA in Burke County, and Kyle Smith will be the Chief ADA in Catawba County.
I, along with my staff, have worked very hard in the past two years to rebuild the reputation of the DA’s Office, and I cannot allow the integrity of the office to be called into question. My administration is dedicated to the fair and impartial administration of criminal justice for the citizens of Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties.”