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The former Virginia GOP leader had pleaded guilty to eavesdropping on a conference call with members of the Democratic Party.
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Date published: 7/9/2003
But Spencer quashed that line of argument, telling Benjamin to speak about Matricardi's character and future.
"If you get up here and start excusing what he did, you're going to tick me off," Spencer warned.
Matricardi had been executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia for three years when, in March 2002, he was given the codes to two Democratic Party conference calls. Matricardi listened to and taped the two calls from his Richmond office, and encouraged Claudia Tucker, then the chief of staff to House Speaker Vance Wilkins, to listen in on the second call.
Matricardi disclosed the contents of those calls to an official in Attorney General Jerry Kilgore's office. That official notified the state police.
Matricardi resigned from his RPV post in April 2002 when he was first indicted on state charges in the case; those state charges were later dropped, and Matricardi moved to South Carolina for a job with that state's Republican Party. He resigned the South Carolina job this past January when he was indicted on federal charges in the eavesdropping case.
Gov. Mark Warner said he was glad Matricardi "finally acknowledged what he did was wrong."
"My hope is this will be a lesson to all the political operatives out there that that kind of win-at-any-cost mentality just doesn't have a place in the political process," Warner added. "Listening in on someone else's phone call, that's not right."