An ex-aide to former North Carolina 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 Ruffin Poole and government prosecutors during a hastily scheduled hearing.
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.