Investigators named in Easley probe

August 26, 2009 5:49:31 PM PDT
The North Carolina Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety named three men Wednesday to investigate records related to former Governor Mike Easley's travel in 2005.The attorneys are:
  • Willis Whichard, former NC Supreme Court justice and former law school dean at Campbell University
  • Ralph Walker, former superior and court of appeals judge and former director of the Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Robert Morgan, former SBI Director, former NC Attorney General, and former US Senator

Whichard and Morgan are both Democrats. Walker is a Republican, but he served as Director of Administrative Office of the Courts under Easley.

“Governor Perdue and I are determined to do everything in our power to find the answers regarding the 2005 records,” said Sec. Reuben Young. “These three are dedicated public servants and have a history of impartiality and fairness.”

The NC Highway Patrol says it cannot find the Easley's travel records for 2005. The documents are at the center of an investigation into whether the governor got free flights on private planes - flights investigators say he should have reported.

What happened to the records is unclear. A secretary says Highway Patrol Captain Alan Melvin told her to download the records from her computer to a separate disk and then delete them from her computer to free up space.

She says she had never expressed any problems with space on the computer. That story - first reported by the Raleigh News and Observer - was apparently news to Secretary Young, because a previous investigation showed nothing was deleted from her computer.

Young has placed Melvin on administrative duty while the investigation continues. A computer has been handed over to federal authorities.

Young said the details of the new investigation would be made public when it's complete.

Current Governor Beverly Perdue weighed in on the investigation as well Wednesday.

"I find it unacceptable that the 2005 travel records from the prior administration have not been recovered," she said. "I have instructed Sec. Reuben Young to initiate an outside investigation to resolve the unanswered questions and expect it to be conducted thoroughly and expeditiously. The distinguished leaders who will conduct the investigation are held in the highest regard because of their dedication to public service and integrity."

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