How Easley dodged the bullet

It's called "immunity." Did you hear Kenerly refer to NCGS 163-278.29 when addressing the judge? It reads:

§ 163‑278.29. Compelling self‑incriminating testimony; individual so testifying excused from prosecution.

No individual shall be excused from attending or testifying or producing any books, papers, or other documents before any court upon any proceeding or trial of another for the violation of any of the provisions of this Article, upon the ground or for the reason that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of him may tend to incriminate him, but such individual may be subpoenaed and required to testify by and for the State relative to any offense arising under the provisions of this Article; but such individual shall not be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter or thing concerning which he may be compelled to testify or produce evidence, documentary or otherwise, and no compelled testimony so given or produced shall be used against him upon any criminal proceeding, but such individual so compelled to testify with respect to any acts of his own shall be immune from prosecution on account thereof. (1973, c. 1272, s. 1.)

No one thought Easley was innocent. Either Easley was claiming immunity or his buddies who testified at the BOE hearing were. Joe Cheshire used that statute to make Kenerly believe that he shouldn't waste millions of taxpayers' dollars in a down economy taking a case to trial when it was doubtful the jury would convict. That's why Joe Cheshire gets paid the big bucks. That's how Easley got off so lightly.

Comments

Oops, Betsy already made the point . . .

I didn't see this post before I answered on another thread.

But it's dead on, except for missing the bit of detail that Leake made a point of using language provided to him by Colin Willougby before taking testimony on the Phipps, Black and Wright matters -- language that Willoughby felt sufficient to block application of that statute by attorneys who would otherwise argue immunity.

Colin Willoughby, as most of you know, recused himself from any dealings with the Easley matter because of his close, personal relationship with Mike Easley. So I guess Leake had the "out" because Colin wasn't calling him and insisting that that same language be read before Easley answered the first question after being sworn in.

Still, Leake knew of the statute and what it offered. And he chose not to read that language that would have (arguably) blocked the statute's effect.

We need to hear from Larry Leake

You gave a better explanation than I did. Did Easley testify before or after it was determined Ruffin Poole could not claim attorney-client privilege? I was wondering if there was a connection.

If Easley got off with a $1,000 fine because Leake knew of the statute's effect and chose not to read the language that blocked its effect, he has some questions to answer.

Poor Kenerly. No wonder he called the prosecution "complicated." He knew he was going to let the people of North Carolina down through no fault of his own. I also felt for those SBI and FBI investigators who sat behind him. I guess sitting "inside the Bar" was their booby-prize after their hundreds of hours of interviews resulted in one Class I felony conviction.

I also had to laugh at Joe Cheshire's comments about all the good lawyering, including his own, involved in the plea agreement. How nice of him to allow Kenerly to save face when he had him by the short hairs from the beginning.

Why did Easley's voice crack when he addressed the judge? I don't think he was remorseful; I think he was a little afraid the judge would reject the plea. That's why Kenerly mentioned the statute to the judge. It was his way of saying "Please accept this plea, Your Honor, because it's not going to get any better than this."

Betsy J. Wolfenden

Who is Winning?

Shame on all of us! Sure, I've been aware of the Mike Easley 'scandal' since its beginning but consciously did not explore it in depth. Of course, my not being an attorney precludes my offering the kind of authoritative opinion that is shown in such depth here on this blog. I have, though, just in the 24 hours that I've been a member of this forum, come to an awareness that is disturbing. Here we have Mike Easley, complete with both friends and enemies, under the spotlight because of a fairly short list of infractions and misdeeds, and all brought to light by the recent sentencing sessions.

I'm perplexed. Because of this coverage and also of that in the N&O and other places, I've put myself to wondering if Governor Easley actually performed even one positive act that would've served to benefit even one citizen of North Carolina in the many years of his elected service! Wow! One would think that he'd rank right up there (or down there!) with the Capones or Dillingers or Jesse James of our fine country! And then I 'Google' 'Mike Easley charges' only to learn that a large part of the complaints lodged against him grew out of a Helicopter Ride! And no doubt the SUV driven (inappropriately) by his son figured prominently! Surely there are other issues that would've earned him some of the bench time he's been exposed to. How have we come to this point?

No one should contest the fact that many, if not most, of today's scandals are politically prompted and motivated. I would like to think that at some point Americans could move beyond the sheer pettiness of this sort of activity. Much of the Easley 'scandal', if it is one, seems to have been contrived as if driven by a sense of retribution or payback on somebody's part. What I do know from this lifelong Democrat's vantage point is that the average citizen of North Carolina has not been negatively affected in the least by what Mike Easley did or did not do in the course of his varied service. Somebody wanted him charged with and convicted of a 'Felony' and any form of truth or other mitigating influence by damned. Okay, he's been charged and found Guilty! He's been sentenced! Okay?

Democracy is not well served by an atmosphere of character assassination or attacks upon anyone's integrity, especially when the parties attacked are legally elected public servants. Nobody 'wins', and everybody 'loses'. In my opinion, that is. Thanks

Say my name, say my name: "Good Ol' Boy Network"

Dear RatFace,

Thank you for your contribution to this forum. I think you may have missed the televised SBOE hearings in this matter; you may still be able to find them online.

The citizens of North Carolina, including you, are always negatively affected by corruption, particularly when it involves our "legally elected public servants."

Because you believe Easley's commission of a felony does not have a negative effect on you personally, you choose to close your eyes to it. While this is a somewhat natural human reaction, it also very naive. It also makes you a member of the segment of the population that corrupt public servants rely upon to get reelected. They line their pockets at society's expense but because your net worth looks kind of like it did last year, why make such a fuss?

Well, we should be making a VERY big fuss over the fact that the former NC Attorney General, the highest ranking law enforcement officer of our state, engaged in immoral and criminal activity, resulting in a felony conviction. Even if you choose not to impugn Easley personally, you at least need to take a cold hard look at the system in this state that creates so many Mike Easleys and Ruffin Pooles. The system has a name. It's called the Good Ol' Boy Network. It is rampant in North Carolina and it thrives on an apathetic and uninformed populace.

The legal effect of the immunity statute is that it impeded the state and federal prosecutors from bringing additional criminal charges against Easley, such as obstruction of justice, which is ultimately a crime of corruption. Because of the effect of the statute, the citizens of this state are not going to hear the evidence against Easley obtained by the SBI and FBI investigators, so to conclude that the only charges that could have been brought was the one that was brought, is faulty reasoning.

Betsy J. Wolfenden