Jessica M. Karmasek Mar. 21, 2013, 1:00pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsline) -- North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper could be left with half of his legal staff if Gov. Pat McCrory's proposed budget is approved.

McCrory, a Republican, wants more than 200 attorneys and support staff from the state's Department of Justice to be moved to other state agencies.

Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for Cooper, a Democrat, told the Charlotte Observer Wednesday that dispersing the attorney general's staff would be "inefficient" and would hurt criminal court appeals, along with the state's participation in multistate lawsuits.

"We will work with the governor and the legislature to fix this," Talley told the newspaper.

Budget Director Art Pope told the Observer that in the past each agency had a legal staff until they were all moved to the DOJ about 20 years ago.

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