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Sentencing set for "little governor" Ruffin Poole

Ruffin Poole, a longtime aide to former Gov. Mike Easley who was described in court documents as the "little governor," is set to be sentenced on an income tax evasion guilty plea next month.

Poole entered the guilty plea one year ago this week in federal court, and pledged cooperation in what was then a wide-ranging probe of Easley.

There were mixed views at the time about whether Poole's deal would lead to further indictments or charges.

Poole struck the plea bargain in exchange for prosecutors' dropping of more than 50 counts of corruption-related charges issued against him in an indictment.

Then, late last year, Easley entered a guilty plea in state court on a felony campaign finance charge in a three-way deal that halted the federal probe without any other federal action against him.

Easley paid a $1,000 fine, and was not sentenced to any active jail time as a part of the plea.

Poole faces up to five years in prison on the income tax charge, though it is unclear if he will receive active jail time.

The sentencing is set for May 4 at 2 p.m. in federal court before U.S. District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle.


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