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Easley avoids disbarment, agrees to license suspension

Posted January 6, 2012

— Former Gov. Mike Easley will remain without his law license for another year under an order issued this week by the North Carolina State Bar.

The State Bar filed a formal complaint against Easley last month, seeking disciplinary action for his conviction for campaign fraud.

Easley entered an Alford plea to one felony count of certifying a false campaign finance report in November 2010. In an Alford plea, a defendant pleads guilty, while maintaining his innocence, and admits it is in his best interest to take the plea deal because there is sufficient evidence to find him guilty.

Easley's law license was suspended shortly after the guilty plea, pending the conclusion of formal disciplinary proceedings.

The State Bar issued an order Wednesday suspending his license for two years but giving him credit for the time he has already been without it. Easley and his attorney agreed to the findings and punishment.

The organization's disciplinary panel looked at a possible admonition, reprimand or censure against Easley but said none of those actions was sufficient "because of the gravity of harm to the public."

Mike Easley in court Easley's law license suspended until December

When a lawyer is convicted of a felony, the panel wrote in its findings, disbarment is the usual punishment. But the panel said a lesser punishment was justified in this case because there was no evidence that Easley knew the details of the campaign finance report, he took responsibility for the shortcomings of his campaign and he expressed remorse.

Easley's attorney, Alan Schneider, said that the State Bar and federal and North Carolina prosecutors all found no evidence of wrongdoing by Easley, except for one campaign flight that wasn't reported properly. So, he said, it's time to close the book on the investigations into his dealings while in office.

"Now is a time for all of us to accept the fact that these investigations revealed, and the facts show very clearly, that Gov. Easley is not a dishonest person," Schneider said in a statement. "To the contrary, he is a man of integrity and good character. He has served the people of North Carolina with grace, dignity and honor, and it is time to put this matter behind us and allow Gov. Easley to move on with his life."

94 Comments

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  • awood2 Jan 9, 4:02 p.m.

    "So, why do citizens always elect people into office who are crooks, liars, etc?"

    They all lie! It's just who gets caught..I personally am tired of hearing about it..move on!

  • jafarmg2 Jan 9, 11:35 a.m.

    Why am I not surprised? It's all in who you know.

  • dws Jan 6, 7:51 p.m.

    "So, why do citizens always elect people into office who are crooks, liars, etc?"

    that is what the political system is.....even those with the best intents become overwhelmed with the bed of (political) snakes that await them...

    number of terms of service must absolutely be changed

  • Alexia Jan 6, 7:37 p.m.

    So, why do citizens always elect people into office who are crooks, liars, etc? Not that I'm saying this man is one -- not even sure why he's being punished. But, it just amazes me how corrupt our elected are.

  • timtooltime777 Jan 6, 7:21 p.m.

    The North carolina bar is run by a bunch of crooks ! Just slap the ex on the hand that feeds THEM !

  • bassace1945 Jan 6, 7:10 p.m.

    Freedom and the constitution does not work when fools continue to elect one of their own.

  • Chapel Hill Conservative Jan 6, 6:55 p.m.

    Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification.
    Obi-Wan: [with a small wave of his hand] You don't need to see his identification.
    Stormtrooper: We don't need to see his identification.

    Obi-Wan: These aren't the droids you're looking for.
    Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for.

    Obi-Wan: He can go about his business.
    Stormtrooper: You can go about your business.

    Obi-Wan: Move along.
    Stormtrooper: Move along... move along.

  • Commen Jan 6, 6:25 p.m.

    Old boy network wins again.

  • Boogalooboy Jan 6, 6:24 p.m.

    It seems that the majority are in agreement that govt is pretty corrupt. Never seen a poor politician... that being said... they don't show up for votes which basically means they are not at work, some don't have to pay social security, cause they have different retirement than the common man,sorry person, they have access to investment info we don't and if we had the same access we would be put under the jail, on and on and on, myself included, what are we gonna do about it, talk is cheap, blogging is whining...

  • KT6596 Jan 6, 6:20 p.m.

    What a corrupt state at every level of government!

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