RALEIGH, NC (WBTV/AP) - The former governor of North Carolina has entered a plea agreement over a false campaign finance report.
"As the candidate, I have to take responsibility for what the campaign does," he told the judge. "The buck has to stop somewhere. It stops with me, and I take responsibility for what occurred in this instance," Easley told the judge on Tuesday.
Former Governor Mike Easley entered an Alford plea in Wake County court, which means he acknowledged the state's evidence could result in a conviction without having to admit any guilt. By entering the plea Easley would avoid any prison time.
Prosecutors say the plea also ends a federal probe that started in February 2009, a month after he left office.
As a part of the plea deal, Easley consented to a $1,000 fine after state and federal prosecutors spent more than a year combing through his life.
Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith still must agree to the plea deal.
The agreement stems from the investigation by Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly, who was brought in to examine the case after the State Board of Elections fined Easley's campaign $100,000.
"Regardless of any Alford pleas, it's a significant and sad end to this story," Kenerly said on Tuesday after the plea hearing was completed.