U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding, whose office investigated Mike Easley for two years, released a statement following the former governor's conviction on a single felony count in state court:
When federal authorities investigate corruption allegations involving state officials, it is important that we cooperate with state prosecutors and investigators, rather than compete with them. That has always been our office’s policy.
When there are corruption allegations, we investigate them thoroughly, analyze the current status of applicable federal law, and then apply the principles of federal prosecution to decide whether to propose an indictment to the grand jury.
As stated in the our letter that became part of the state court file today, these principles include whether the potential federal charges are supported by enough admissible evidence to obtain and sustain a conviction, whether the accused person should be subjected to multiple prosecutions, and whether federal charges would promote cooperation with state prosecutors.
After weighing all these factors and consulting closely with Special Prosecutor Kenerly, we have decided to decline federal prosecution of former Governor Easley, and bring to a close the federal investigation of him. We have written a letter to Mr. Easley’s counsel to this effect, and that letter was today made part of the state court file.
It is no cause for celebration that a former Governor of North Carolina has been convicted of a felony related to his service as Governor, but it does signify that North Carolina is taking seriously the enforcement of its campaign finance laws. This ends a sad chapter in North Carolina history.
But North Carolinians are strong and will overcome this tarnishing or our reputation. Whenever potential federal violations are implicated, we will continue to partner with our state counterparts to root out public corruption in our state.