Ruffin Poole, key counsel to former Gov. Mike Easley, could go on trial as early as April 26, a federal judge said today.
U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle set the trial date this afternoon. He said the date could change depending on pretrial maneuvering, but said if the case was going to trial, it was in Poole's interest to start as soon as possible. He said he expected the trial would last from five to eight days.
The trial date is earlier than either side had sought. Prosecutors had wanted a trial in mid-May, while Poole's lawyer had proposed August.
Poole and his lawyer declined to comment.
Poole has been indicted on 51 corruption charges, including money laundering, extortion and bribery, in connection with his alleged investments in coastal developments and his government work to push along permits for those projects.