Easley probe results expected soon

September 2, 2009 3:57:54 PM PDT
The North Carolina Board of Elections could wrap up a probe of former governor Mike Easley's campaign by mid-September.It began investigating the circumstances surrounding free cars provided by auto dealers back in May.

Easley's son was driving a GMC Yukon that Easley's lawyer described as a campaign car paid for by the campaign, but Easley told Eyewitness News in an interview that he owned the vehicle.

Easley's wife Mary was also driving a Honda described as a "loaner" for months.

Larry Leake, who has chaired the State Board of Elections for 13 straight years, had hoped to wrap up the investigation by Labor Day. Now, he's shooting for mid-September.

But Leake says no one should question the speed and thoroughness of their probe into the former governor.

"This board of the last twelve years has tackled many a high profile level politician, has tackled many a high-profiled hornets' nest. So I don't think you or anyone who listens to you is going to have any concerns about the credibility of this board," he offered.

During Leake's time, the board has held hearings on Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scot Phipps and House Speaker Jim Black. Both led to federal prison time.

The commission investigation isn't Easley's only worry. A federal grand jury is also looking at trips he took on private planes and a job Mary Easley landed at NC State.

Easley has not spoken with the media recently, but said in a statement early in the investigation that he's done nothing wrong.

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