North Carolina Government Corrupt to the Core: Politicians accept Plea Deals
North Carolina politicians have been jumping on the plea bargain bandwagon. Back in 2006, former N.C. state representative Michael Decker, Sr. of Forsyth County pleaded guilty in federal court to crimes associated with then NC House Speaker Jim Black’s re-election campaign in 2003, according to the Carolina Journal Online. “Court documents tell of a deal made with an unnamed legislator that resulted in Decker receiving envelopes stuffed with checks and cash. U.S. District Judge James C. Dever, III accepted Decker’s plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion, honest services mail fraud, and money laundering. According to court documents, after the results of the November 2002 general election left the House with 61 Republican members and 59 Democratic members, Decker, a Republican, solicited and agreed to accept $50,000 and other gifts in return for switching parties and supporting a particular candidate for speaker of the House. In January 2003 Decker publicly announced he had changed his registration to Democrat. While the candidate was not specifically mentioned in court documents, that candidate was Jim Black.”
In a television interview last week with WRAL (wral.com), now former state House Speaker Jim Black said that he didn’t do anything illegal and never sought a profit despite his guilty plea to a federal corruption charge. Black told WRAL-TV in Raleigh that he took the plea deal to get on with life now that he has served his sentence. Black pleaded guilty in 2007 to taking thousands of dollars from chiropractors while pushing their agenda at the General Assembly. He also entered an Alford plea to state charges of bribery and obstruction of justice in the Decker case.
Not to be out-done in the plea bargain arena, former North Carolina governor Mike Easley was reported by The News & Observer that he had agreed back in November to a plea deal in federal investigations into unreported private travel, special discounts on property he bought at the coast, unreported gifts of golf club dues, non-disclosure of campaign money used to make repairs at his private home, and his involvement in creating a job for his wife at N.C. State University. The list is long!
As part of the deal, federal authorities would not take any other action against Easley. Preferential treatment?