North Carolina Bar reinstates Mike Easley's law license

ablythe@newsobserver.comFebruary 4, 2013 

EASLEY.NE.112310.EDR.JPG

Former Gov. Mike Easley appears before a hearing at the Wake County Courthouse in Raleigh, NC, on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010, where he plead guilty to one felony charge, ending a long-running state and federal investigation into his actions while he was in office.

TED RICHARDSON — TED RICHARDSON - trichard@newsobserver.com

— Former Gov. Mike Easley has a license to practice law again.

The two-term Democratic governor, convicted in 2010 of a felonious campaign finance violation, had the license reinstated by the N.C. State Bar on Monday.

Easley, 62, gave up his law license after entering a plea arrangement with prosecutors.

In November 2010, the former governor and state attorney general entered an Alford plea, meaning he agreed there was enough evidence to convict him of not listing a 2006 helicopter flight, valued at $1,600, on campaign finance reports. But he did not acknowledge guilt in the conviction.

The plea in Wake County Superior Court ended state and federal investigations that began shortly after Easley left office in 2009.

The State Bar formally suspended Easley’s license through December 2012, saying that Easley had expressed remorse and accepted responsibility for his actions and for his campaign.

Easley is the first governor in the state to be convicted of a felony, which was tied to not reporting in campaign disclosures a helicopter flight provided by former N.C. State University Board of Trustees Chairman McQueen Campbell.

Easley was fined $1,000 as part of the plea and did not receive any jail time for the low-level felony.

Under North Carolina’s law license process, Easley had to petition the bar to have his license reinstated. He did so on Jan. 4.

The nine-paragraph order, signed by Thomas Lunsford, secretary of the Bar, and issued on Tuesday, stated that Easley had complied with the requirements of his suspension and provided supporting documentation.

Efforts to reach Alan Schneider, the Raleigh lawyer representing Easley, were unsuccessful.

Schneider has previously said that Easley has integrity and character, and served the state with grace and honor, and that “it is time to put this matter behind us and allow Governor Easley to move on with his life.”

Easley said in 2008, his last year in office, that he had looked forward to practicing law with his son, Michael Jr.

Staff Writer J. Andrew Curliss contributed to this report.

Blythe: 919-836-4948

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service