The FBI issued a subpoena to the state Highway Patrol today, ordering the agency to produce all records related to private air travel of the Easley family.
The request is made as part of a grand jury investigation, according to the documents. The grand jury meets next week, according to the subpoena, Andy Curliss reports.
Besides seeking information about the private travels of former Gov. Mike Easley, his wife Mary Easley and his son Michael Easley Jr., the subpoena requests documents relating to:
* Payments made in exchange for the air travel.
* Communications with the Easley family regarding the private travel.
* Communications regarding public inquiries surrounding the air travel.
* The state Highway Patrol's records retention policy.
* The retention or destruction of records related to travel by the Easley family.
The News & Observer published a story on Saturday detailing private flights that the former governor took based on records Easley had kept secret while in office. Some flights were free, according to aircraft owners and pilots who flew him. Some were not reported on campaign disclosure reports, though the records show that they were campaign flights.
The records are held by the state Highway Patrol, which has a special unit to protect the governor. Easley and administration officials had said the records' release while he was in office would compromise his security.
In addition, the N&O showed in its report that there are gaps in the records and that other flights likely took place for which no records have been made available. Nothing has been provided for the entire year of 2005, for example. Patrol officials say they have scoured the unit's files and cannot locate any records other than those already provided.
Update: A second subpoena was served Friday at the patrol's headquarters and to Capt. Alan Melvin, who headed the unit for several years. Melvin was placed on administration duty as of 1 p.m. today, a patrol spokesman said. That means he will work only on administrative tasks.