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EASLEY INVESTIGATION: Former governor enters felony plea agreement

READ MORE: EASLEY INVESTIGATION: Former governor enters felony plea agreement
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By MIKE BAKER
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Former North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley has entered a plea agreement over a false campaign finance report, consenting to a $1,000 fine after state and federal prosecutors spent more than a year combing through his life.

Easley entered an Alford plea in Wake County court, which means he acknowledged the state's evidence could result in a conviction without having to admit any guilt. Prosecutors say the plea also ends a federal probe that started in February 2009, a month after he left office.

Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith still must agree to the plea deal.

The agreement stems from the investigation by Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly, who was brought in to examine the case after the State Board of Elections fined Easley's campaign $100,000.

---
Associated Press Writer Gary D. Robertson contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

COMMENTS FROM FEDERAL AND SBI OFFICIALS REGARDING EASLEY CASE

United States Attorney George E.B. Holding commented today on
the guilty plea of Michael F. Easley in North Carolina Superior
Court:

“When federal authorities investigate corruption allegations
involving state officials, it is important that we cooperate with
state prosecutors and investigators, rather than compete with them.
That has always been our office’s policy.

When there are corruption allegations, we investigate them
thoroughly, analyze the current status of applicable federal law,
and then apply the principles of federal prosecution to decide
whether to propose an indictment to the grand jury. As stated in
the our letter that became part of the state court file today,
these principles include whether the potential federal charges are
supported by enough admissible evidence to obtain and sustain a
conviction, whether the accused person should be subjected to
multiple prosecutions, and whether federal charges would promote
cooperation with state prosecutors.

After weighing all these factors and consulting closely with
Special Prosecutor Kenerly, we have decided to decline federal
prosecution of former Governor Easley, and bring to a close the
federal investigation of him. We have written a letter to Mr.
Easley’s counsel to this effect, and that letter was today made
part of the state court file.

It is no cause for celebration that a former Governor of North
Carolina has been convicted of a felony related to his service as
Governor, but it does signify that North Carolina is taking
seriously the enforcement of its campaign finance laws. This ends
a sad chapter in North Carolina history. But North Carolinians are
strong and will overcome this tarnishing or our reputation.
Whenever potential federal violations are implicated, we will
continue to partner with our state counterparts to root out public
corruption in our state.

We would like to thank the FBI, the IRS-CID, and the SBI for
their capable and through work on this matter, and also Special
Prosecutor William Kenerly for his professional handling of the
matter.”

“The Special Agents of the State Bureau of Investigation, the
FBI, and the IRS are to be commended for the professional and
thorough manner in which this case was investigated. The
collaborative work of these agencies was essential in this
investigation,” said SBI Director Greg McLeod.

“This outcome was brought about as a result of partnerships
between federal, state and local law enforcement authorities. More
importantly, we received help from the public. We who are public
servants work for you and we need your help to hold us
accountable. We encourage people to continue to come forward with
information regarding corruption and to contact our Raleigh office
at 919-380-4500 or our main office at 704-377-9200,” said Owen D.
Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina.

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Easley Follies

Whats new, nothing, another crooked politician. These days that is normal and standard operating procedures for most politicians. Our present Governor Purdue has done the same exact thing with her campaign. Another democratic crook that gets a slap on the hand while regular citizens would be wearing green clothes at the State Prison. But the people of NC have no excuse. They twice elected that crook and then that was not enough so they voted in Purdue, another crook. It was quite apparent that Easley enriched his personal finances through his political contacts. If I ever see Easley I am going to call him a crooked politician to his face. While me and family have been struggling with unemployment and making huge cutbacks Easley was busy trying to see how much he could cheat, steal and wrongfully acquire. It is not fair, in fact it is despicable and wrong and the little slap he got was a slap in the citizens of this State's face.

Class and Integrity ?

One thing you can not buy , Mr. Easley .......CLASS and INTEGRITY !

McQueen Campbell made Easley

McQueen Campbell made Easley an attractive deal on a property in a coastal development, and he gave Easley's wife a lucrative $170,000 a year job at N.C. State University. Campbell, one of the leading Pay-To-Play cronies whom Easley had appointed to the N.C. State Board of Trustees will not be investigated.

Easley also appointed McQueen's father, Mac Campbell, to a position on the Department of Transportation. The Campbell family benefitted financially, socially, and professionally from Easley's corrupt reign.

Since the prosecutor in

Since the prosecutor in Easley's case was hand picked by Easley's best friend the outcome was absolutely predictable. How many more crooked politicians and supporters will be set free because of an Alford Plea? Please explain how Easley was able to get the Federal prosecutors in his pocket as well as the State.

Pay To Play

And the Pay-to-Play "friends," the creepy McQueen Campbell and others--will there be no investigation of them?

They benefitted socially, politically, and financially from Easley's sleazy reign.

This is sickening. Please allow me to repeat a worn-out cliche that speaks the truth more strongly with each passing day:

POLITICIANS AND THEIR COHORTS ARE CROOKED!

This Easley ruling is scandalous . . . "scandalous"? A meaningless word nowadays.

Justice ?

JUSTICE DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU STAND IN THE HIERACHY OF LIFE ! To the average North Carolinians , keep up the hard and HONEST work subsidizing the lifestyles of corrupt government officials. Easley walks away relatively unscathed in this prearranged agreement that would not afford you the same option. Expect him to draw a good pension and continue to operate with his cronies in manipulative dealings for personal gain. Due to him being on the higher rungs of the ladder , Easley will continue on with his unethical and prosperous life. He was not a man of character or integrity upon taking office , therefore he has lost nothing. His reputation does not matter to him because he compromised that by entering into politics for his own personal gain. Your welfare was not his premier concern. As a CONVICTED FELON , his cronies will prop him up and give him an opportunity to continue his unethical life , which will lead to additional prosperity. To the average North Carolinian , if you were a convicted felon , your remaining life would be filled with a lot of adversity and employers would be reluctant to give you an opportunity to provide the necessities of life. The upside to the Easley scandal , is that state Democrats , including Beverly Perdue , will continue to feel the repercussions at the voting booth due to the corruption.Perdue is probably hoping these matters blow over like a bad storm. Like all bad storms, average North Carolinians will have to pick up the pieces and continue to pay the bill for their bad governance. This is how the hierachy of life works. Justice is delivered in varying degrees depending on what rung of the ladder you are on !

What about the rest of the stolen money?

Hey Mr. Easley (and I use that term very loosely) will you pay back all the money you stole or what? Making a deal is great and all that but why don't you take all of the other crooks you supported with you? Rex Gore who you mentored and all of the other ADAs in Brunswick County and of course Govenor Smilng Bev needs to go! As the stomach turns so ends the days of your lives! LET'S MAKE A DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gore and Easley ..opposites..

See you don't know what you are talking about...You want all the lottery money taken back in which He got our state..
Easley and Gore DO NOT get along since Gore ran and lost to Easley back in the 80's. They do not get along. When Gore became ADA he promised Lee Greer DA he would not run against Easley and he did and got his butt beat. Gore is crying now because he can't get full retirement..LOL...and Easley has nothing to do with Gores ADA's. Easley had a strong set of ADA's and Gore's ADA took him out..FINALLY!!!
Easley helped Gore by going to a rally on his way back to Raleigh from Southport and to support the Dem. Party...and not really Gore.
Easley's attorney explains it well!! Feds could not find anything ..State could not find anything...What a waste of Money these stupid people waste...

What stolen money?

Specifically what stolen money are you referencing? I believe that as a rule stolen money should be returned, but your reference is vague, to say the least. Please educate us.