Local Politics

Feds: Easley probe will last as long as needed

Posted August 6, 2010
Updated August 13, 2010

— Responding to criticism from Democrats about the length of a federal investigation of former Gov. Mike Easley, U.S. Attorney George Holding said he doesn't rush criminal probes.

Since early last year, a federal grand jury has subpoenaed records related to Easley's travel, land deals and relationships with developers. The grand jury indicted Ruffin Poole, a former top aide, on 57 corruption charges, and he pleaded guilty in April to income tax evasion.

Some Democrats have said recently that it's unfair to Easley to have a cloud over his head, and the lingering investigation could intrude on the fall elections.

Holding said Friday that he couldn't comment on the Easley investigation, but he said he won't let such criticism affect the way his office handles a case.

"There are always outside influences. To me, that is just static – what other people are saying who aren't involved in the case," he said. "We're going to do what is right for the case at the time that it is right for the case."

He noted the corruption case against former House Speaker Jim Black lasted about 25 months before Black pleaded guilty. The case against former Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps took about 18 months to put together before she pleaded guilty.

U.S. Attorney George Holding Web only: U.S. Attorney George Holding

Legal experts said the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down part of an anti-fraud statute used to prosecute some corruption cases might have complicated any case against Easley. To pursue cases under the so-called honest services law, prosecutors must now prove a bribe or kickback was involved.

Holding said the ruling takes away an important tool for prosecutors to tackle corruption, but he declined to comment on any impact on the Easley investigation.

A Republican appointee, he has remained in office solely to complete the investigations of Easley and former presidential candidate John Edwards. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said she wanted to hold off having President Barack Obama name a new U.S. attorney to avoid politicizing the two probes.

Holding said he has total confidence in his prosecutors and in his eventual replacement to uphold the law and follow through on the probes.


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  • 6079 SMITH W Aug 6, 2010

    As long as needed.....or until the republicans can win an election. Yeah, good luck with THAT. This bunch needs to be visited by Rick James wearing his "UNITY" ring. They don't seem to have a center at all, and even hurricanes die when they lose the center of circulation. Rush may keep the storm going with all that hot air, but sooner or later it will cross the coastline on to dry land (truth) and it will fall apart.

  • Tax Man Aug 6, 2010

    You go George - we want convictions on Easley and Edwards and we want them to stick! These two are sleazy lawyers that know the ways to get around the law. They need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law with tons of evidence - then they will plead guilty for a reduced sentence. Do it right and don't let anyone slow you down.

  • beckerunc Aug 6, 2010

    Mr. Holding seem to making this a polical matter. He has every possible resource at his disposal. Don't get me wrong, I despise government corruption and excessive government cost, but this seems to be played on both sides. The law was iffy at best and now the SC has properly narrowed it. Too much politics to drop, so more time saving face. Seems like Ken Starr to me.

  • Made In USA Aug 6, 2010

    Could it be true that Holding is facing so much adversity from so many other people involved in the Easley investigation, such as the chairman of the Board of Elections, that time is the only way to proper prosecute Easley? I think so. And I also think that every single Democrat (the majority) that Holding has contact with on a regular basis in the coarse of the Easley investigation are obviously unwilling to cooperate. (continued below)

  • ghimmy51 Aug 6, 2010

    The man's answer sounds correct. However, a thought did sneak in when the article states "he has remained in office solely to complete the investigations". You don't suppose it pays well, do ya?

  • Made In USA Aug 6, 2010

    We must remember that Mr. Easley has credible influence to play as a trump card to the people that run the State of NC. He is the one that slyly gave birth to the Educational Lottery...bring mega bucks into the hands of those that run our poor state. You can call his card a planned payoff.

  • NCSULandscaper Aug 6, 2010

    just goes to show you how many are involved with this case. sounds like some are getting scared and want to close the case before their name gets brought up

  • nascarguy Aug 6, 2010

    Good article! If the Jim Black investigation lasted 25 months, then there doesn't appear to be anything abnormal here, so the complaints of the democrats must be purely political and should be ignored. Good.

  • vickigrantham Aug 6, 2010

    Mr. Holding's response sounds exactly right and correct to me.

  • renaizzanceman Aug 6, 2010

    Good! It's about time someone grew a backbone over this case.