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Ex-Gov Easley's Right-Hand Man Gets Prison Time, But Not For Bribes

Ruffin Poole , the man known as "Little Governor" during the administration of Mike Easley, is headed to federal prison. From the News & Observer: Ruffin Poole was known in state government for his rapid rise from a personal assistant to the governor to Mike Easley's executive counsel. He took trips to and New Orleans on private jets with high-rolling businessmen, and he elbowed his way into a $55,000 payoff. But on Tuesday, none of those friends were in U.S. District Court when Poole faced Judge Terrence Boyle. And Easley had months ago cut a deal to end investigations of him, pleading to a felony, paying a $1,000 fine and avoiding prison time. Poole admitted taking bribes. He helped developers get environmental permits, and in return the he got sweetheart deals on property in two exclusive developments. However, Poole was only bconvicted of tax evasion. That appeared to annoy judge Boyle, the N&O reports: "How did everyone else get so lucky?" Boyle asked. "Did you target only him and figured he would be the break in the dam and the water would be flowing?" Prosecutors provided little ammunition for a heavier sentence. They didn't explain why the bribe payer wasn't charged, and they could not say whether Poole 's actions helped win the environmental permits. Read the rest of the story here. You can also watch a WRAL-TV report here, which includes footage of Poole pushing a videographer as he's enters the federal courthouse in Raleigh. A reporter asked why he pushed the videographer. "Because I'd like to get into the courthouse," Poole responded as he opened the doors while holding his wife's hand. Friends of Poole did some more pushing and shoving of news photographers as he was leaving the courthouse.