Ruffin Poole, a longtime aide to former Gov. Mike Easley who is accused of 57 corruption counts, has reached a plea deal with prosecutors, court records indicate.
A hearing is set for 2 p.m. today before U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle, J. Andrew Curliss reports on the Investigations blog.
The terms of any plea deal are not yet known.
Officials could not be reached or have declined to comment.
Boyle must accept the deal before it is considered final and, if past cases are an indication, he will question both sides at today's hearing.
A deal would avert a trial that was set to begin in just two weeks.
Poole has pleaded not guilty to each of the 57 counts against him, including tax evasion, money laundering, racketeering and fraud. Prosecutors have alleged that Poole took money and gifts from developers while also influencing state permits those developers needed.
The hearing today is for Poole to change his plea, court records show.
Poole and his lawyer, Joseph Zeszotarski of Raleigh, had filed motions seeking to dismiss most of the charges — though not the tax evasion counts.
They also had argued that they needed more time to defend the case, and ensure Poole gets a fair trial. Prosecutors had disagreed.
Boyle had set a trial to begin on May 3, well before the August date Poole wanted.
The timing was in line with what prosecutors sought.
The case involving Poole is much broader and centers around questions about Easley, a Democrat who was governor for two terms. Easley left office last year.
Prosecutors have said in court filings they wanted to conclude the Poole case — and the broader investigation soon.
They had asked for the Poole trial to be finished by June 4.
Poole was one of the closest aides to Easley, serving as a special counsel and in other roles throughout his eight years in office.
Check the Investigations blog for updates throughout the day.