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Ex-Easley Aide Pleads Guilty

An ex-aide to former Gov. Mike Easley has pleaded guilty to one count of income tax evasion exactly two weeks before his federal trial on 57 corruption-related counts was set to begin.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle accepted the plea agreement Monday between Democrat Ruffin Poole and government prosecutors during a hastily scheduled hearing. Poole is a Kinston native.

A date for sentencing has not been set. Poole has agreed to cooperate with the government as part of the deal.

Poole was once Easley's personal assistant and special counsel. He was indicted in January on charges such as tax evasion, bribery and money laundering, accused of helping move along state permits for coastal housing projects while receiving gifts and making a sizable investment return on two of those subdivisions.

Poole had pleaded not guilty earlier this month.

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


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There's been a hastily scheduled court hearing set that may resolve the corruption case of a former aide to ex-North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley accused of dozens of felonies.

A federal judge scheduled for Monday afternoon what's called a "change of plea" hearing for Ruffin Poole.

Poole, who is a native of Kinston, pleaded not guilty earlier this month to 57 federal charges, including tax evasion, bribery and money laundering. U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle had set the trial date for May 3.

There were no additional details about the court hearing. Poole's attorney didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Poole is accused of helping move along state permits for coastal housing projects while receiving gifts and making a sizable investment return on two of those subdivisions.

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


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