Lusk waives probable cause hearing

Anthony GonzalezStaff Writer

March 12, 2013

A former sports writer for The Tribune and former owner of Lusk Media who’s fighting a pornography charge waived his right to a probable cause hearing in N.C. District Court on Tuesday, thus setting the stage for a plea or trial in Superior Court, say court officials.

Former Elkin resident Eric Lusk, 41, of Elkin, was arrested on Thursday, May 24, 2012 and charged with one count of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor (possession of child pornography), according Chief Monroe Wagoner in an Elkin Police Department release.

Lusk appeared in the Dobson courtroom prior to 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning wearing a blue shirt, a pair of khakis, and isolated himself from any conversation while waiting for his attorney to arrive.

Lusk is represented by David B. Freedman of Crumpler, Freedman, Parker & Witt law firm of Winston-Salem.

Justice William Southern III presided and granted the waiver, thus closing the district court handling of this case and referred the matter to the N.C. Superior Court.

“What happened today is that Lusk through his attorney opted not to proceed with a probable cause hearing,” said District Attorney Josh Simmons.

Simmons indicated that the case will mostly likely turn into high gear. “It either means a plea or a trial in the Superior Court,” he said.

When approached, Lusk was asked if Tuesday’s procedure meant he was ready to take a plea.

“I can’t talk to you about that,” said Lusk.

The porn charge stemmed from evidence seized from Lusk’s home on May 22 during the execution of a search warrant, say police.

“It was discovered by the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force,” said Elkin detective Mindy Peles, who was also at Tuesday’s court appearance. “The pornography was digital and downloaded from the Internet.”

From his first issue on Feb. 1, 2006, to his last on June 9, 2010, Lusk covered sports in Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties for The Tribune.

In May of 2012, Lusk was placed under a $10,000 secured bond.

A probable cause hearing is an opportunity to see what evidence the State may offer at a future trial. Often a police officer, or detective, having some knowledge of the case will testify under oath about the facts and circumstances of the case. Once the officer is finished testifying, the defense attorney has an opportunity to cross examine.

It is unknown if the waiver was a strategic maneuver by Lusk’s defense.