Charlotte TV station pulls NRSC ad targeting Beasley

Image of NRSC ad

RALEIGH — Last Friday, a television station in Charlotte said it removed an ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for what it called a “false statement on material issue,” according to a CBS News report. 

The ad, which is running statewide on multiple stations, came in to question from the Beasley campaign and TV station, WSOC, for one of the claims made about a 2019 case while Beasley served as Chief Justice on the N.C. Supreme Court. It involved a case in which a man convicted of sexually exploiting children said the search warrant was illegally obtained by authorities. 

The case made its way to the state’s highest court, which ruled in his favor in a 5-1 decision authored by Associate Justice Anita Earls. 

The contents of the ad, however, are accurate. 

In the ad, “A man convicted of 12 counts of child porn” appears on the screen, followed by the narrator of the ad saying “Cheri Beasley voted to set him free.” 

That person in question, James Terrell, was convicted on 12 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor; one count of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor; and one count of possessing photographic images from peeping, according to the Jacksonville Daily News. At the time, he was sentenced to 6 to 22 years in prison.  

Twelve photos of young girls were found on a USB drive in Terrell’s briefcase, one of which was of a girl Terrell knew, according to the Assistant District Attorney who tried the case. 

Attorneys for Terrell appealed to the N.C. Court of Appeals, who ruled that the search warrants were obtained fraudulently. The case then made its way to the N.C. Supreme Court, which ruled in a 5-1 decision that the convictions against Terrell were to be vacated. Beasley was the court’s Chief Justice as the time and was one of the five ruling in Terrell’s favor. Paul Newby, now the Chief Justice of the court, dissented from the opinion. 

He would have likely been required to register as a sex offender. After his convictions were vacated, however, he faced no such requirement and appears to have moved to the state of Delaware. 

A spokesman from the N.C. Department of Public Safety confirmed he was released from a minimum custody prison in Johnston County to a residence in Delaware on Dec. 23, 2021.  

A subsequent search of the Delaware sex offender registry does not show a name matching Terrell’s. 

The NRSC, which stands by the ad, says politics is the driver of the ad’s removal. 

The group points out that Cox Media Group’s general counsel, Eric Greenberg, is a longtime Democratic donor. As recently as 2020, he made contributions to failed U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham even after his affair debacle became public. 

Additionally, Greenberg is a former law partner of Marc Elias, and they received lucrative retainers from Beasley’s campaign in 2021. Elias, who has filed dozens of lawsuits in North Carolina aimed at helping Democrats at the ballot box, mounted the effort to question the ad over Beasley, according to the NRSC. 

“This is fishy beyond belief, and the NRSC will continue to fight and expose the corruption and Democrat manipulation happening in North Carolina,” the group says in a statement. 

The majority of stations kept the ad running, said Chris Hartline, the communications director of the NRSC. 

“Cheri Beasley doesn’t want North Carolinians to know the truth about her record of letting off violent criminals. But don’t worry, we’ll keep reminding them about her failure to protect them,” the group wrote on Twitter Friday night.