Local Politics

Easley sentence not enough, N.C. GOP chair says

Posted November 23, 2010

— The chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party says a judge’s sentence against former Gov. Mike Easley is not enough.

After more than a year of speculation and allegations involving flights, favors, land deals and a job for his wife, Easley entered an Alford plea Tuesday morning to a single campaign finance violation and avoiding a prison sentence.

“He gets to walk with no admission of guilty and a $1,000 fine and court costs,” Tom Fetzer said Tuesday evening. “He will spend that much on the bottle of wine celebrating tonight.”

In an Alford plea, a defendant pleads guilty, while maintaining his or her innocence, and admits it is in his or her best interest to take the plea deal because there is sufficient evidence that could find him or her guilty.

Prosecutor Bill Kenerly, a Republican, said campaign finance records and information gathered by State Bureau of Investigation agents turned up no other illegal activities.

"I did not find any evidence to go forward on any non-campaign issue," Kenerly said. "Campaign money was not used inappropriately; it was reported incorrectly ... It was not money anywhere, that I have found, that was used illegally."

Easley was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, court costs, and as a convicted felon, he will lose some of his civil rights.

Critics, like Fetzer, say the penalty amounts to one more favor the former governor got because of who he knows.

"Here is another man who was well-connected, had friends in high places, and he got a different level of justice than what an ordinary citizen would have got,” Fetzer said.

With Easley’s plea, the federal government also dropped its investigation into Easley’s dealings,

"There's just nothing there. If there was something there, somebody would have done something about it," Easley’s attorney, Joe Cheshire, said. "It's easy for the federal government to charge someone, and it's easier for them to convict someone."

Easley, 60, is the first North Carolina governor to be convicted of a crime related to his actions while in office.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney George Holding called the case “a sad chapter” in the state’s history.

"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,” Holding said.


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  • 6079 SMITH W Nov 26, 2010

    Cool! Now we can start "The nightmare of the republican stanglehold of corruption. (ain't sure what that is, but it do sound sinister.) ;)

  • dbarber1157 Nov 26, 2010

    the crook has only paid about 5k of the 100k he was fined for other illegal campaign activities. tarnish his legacy? his legacy is of a corrupt , poltical patronizing jim hunt protege. a crook s only legacy should be of disgrace. finally after 112 years the people have ended the nightmare of the democratic stanglehold of corruption.

  • 6079 SMITH W Nov 25, 2010

    Hey TOM! How 'bout we send somebody over to beat up his cat? Would THAT perk ya up a mite? ;)

  • pamelaworley1969 Nov 24, 2010

    finally someone from the governmental side who actually agrees that this sentence was a joke and a slap in the face to the tax payers footing the bill into the investigation.

  • 6079 SMITH W Nov 24, 2010

    "best" served cold....;)

  • geosol Nov 24, 2010

    Little Tommy had better be careful about who he accuses of doing things and what their punishment ought to be in his little mind. I doubt some of his GOP buddies would be too happy about some of his proclivities. Hmmm.... didn't he say he was resigning soon?

  • jcd241959 Nov 24, 2010

    He doesn't need his licence, I,m sure he stole enough of our money to live on comfortably!

  • rhess2 Nov 24, 2010

    Tom Fetzer is part of what is wrong with politics in North Carolina and most of America. Mr Fetzer attacks anything democrat. Stating that former Governor Mike Easley's sentence is not enough amounts to no more than Fetzer using the opportunity to attack another democrat. I believe Easley's sentence has great ramifications for him. He is now a convicted felon and could loose his law license. Not to mention the affect on his legacy. Is all of that not enough for Mr. Fetzer? Not likely when a politician such as himself embrace a style of criticising not cooperating or compromising with the opposition.

  • Raleigh Boys Nov 24, 2010

    Hearing Easley is a convicted felon brings extra joy to me over the holiday season. You see, he turned down my pardon request in his last week in office, without even glancing at it. Revenge is a dish served cold. Welcome to the lifetime felon club, Mr. Easley!

  • dlb800 Nov 24, 2010

    If you don't think that there was more going on, then I have a bridge to sell you.

    Comeon.. everyone should know that Easley is as crooked as they come... and it's not because he's a democrat, it's because he's a politican.