Local Politics

Easley to be called as witness in campaign finance hearing

Posted October 28, 2009

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— The State Board of Elections plans to call former Gov. Mike Easley to the witness stand Wednesday morning during a hearing into his campaign finances.

It's unclear whether Easley will testify, but he will have to show up after skipping the first days of the historic hearing. He is the first sitting or former governor in North Carolina to face a campaign finance inquiry.

Over the past two days, contributors and former aides leveled a number of allegations against Easley and his campaign:

Tommy Hicks, a Wilmington lawyer who's representing Easley at the hearing, has denied that the former governor told anyone to file fraudulent invoices for the home repairs. Hicks also argued that flights weren't paid for because the campaign was never billed for them.

Jim Cooney, a Charlotte lawyer representing the Democratic Party, contended that donations to the party were simply to meet pledges Easley made to raise money for the state party for use in other elections.

If Easley decides to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and not testify Wednesday, he will have to sign a statement to that effect before the elections board.

The elections board could take no action or issue a fine or reprimand in the case. The board's findings also could be turned over to the Wake County District Attorney's Office for possible criminal prosecution.

An FBI agent has been sitting in on the elections board hearing to gather information that could be used in a federal investigation. Easley's campaign finances are part of a grand jury probe into his dealings with friends and contributors while in office.

WRAL News will provide live coverage of the hearing, along with expert analysis, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday on WRAL.com, WRAL Mobile, over-the-air channel 50.3 and Time Warner Cable channel 252. If Easley testifies, the hearing also will air on WRAL-TV.


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  • beachboater Oct 28, 2009

    He's actually testifying now. But he's lying. His lips are moving. :-)

  • Raleigh Boys Oct 28, 2009

    All those poor folks that asked for a governor pardon from 2000 to 2008, did not get a fair chance. Sleasley pitched em with a big red DENY on them. Maybe all those people should ask Purdue to review the pardons now, and see if any of them deserved a second chance. For example, ME.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Oct 28, 2009

    And the same crowd is STILL in office, and you people put them there!

  • time4real Oct 28, 2009

    Easley will plead the 5th, no story here.

    The story is what they ruled between 9 and 9:30am today. Please tell us wral!

  • beachboater Oct 28, 2009

    Doesn't this make you PROUD to be a North Carolinian?

  • Grandpeople Oct 28, 2009

    I care what he did. He may not get convicted but it is certainly an embarrasment for all his buddies and they may go to jail for this slime ball. I hope they all end up in jail for a very long time.

  • UNCfuturealumi Oct 28, 2009

    He cannot look anyone in the eye..watch him today. that shows his guilt

  • SME2 Oct 28, 2009


    but Hooked on Phonics isn't..

    Seriously does anyone even care about this? I know WRAL must have a lot invested in it so they'll see it through.

  • haggis basher Oct 28, 2009

    "Does he get to stand and smile while his lawyer does all the talking like Mary did?.

    Yes. He can plead the 5th if he wants to.

  • Southern Fried Yankee Oct 28, 2009

    I don't recall......No really, I don't...

    I'm not just saying that....I don't.

    My lawyer says I don't recall so I don't recall.

    What was the question again?

    I don't recall that.....

    Sorry, I don't recall.

    Um, er....Well, to the best of my recollection, I don't recall.