Former North Carolina Governor Pleads Guilty to Felony
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
Though the crime sounds relatively minor and will not land the former governor behind bars because of the terms of his plea deal, it does have repercussions — most importantly, on Easley's reputation. "Any good he did as governor is overshadowed by this," Gary Pearce, a Democratic consultant, tells the (Raleigh) News & Observer . "[F]rom now on, whenever someone writes about him, or when his obituary is written some day, the first phrase following the comma after his name will be, 'the first governor convicted of a felony.'"
Easley portrayed the charge on which he was convicted as "little more than a paperwork error," according to The Associated Press . But the AP notes that the state and federal investigations into Easley's actions, probes which began shortly after he left office, "devoured time and resources, with investigators taking hundreds of interviews and looking into everything from his wife's job at North Carolina State University to a coastal subdivision where the Easleys purchased a lot."