I just returned from Ruffin Poole’s initial appearance in federal court before U.S. District Judge Terrance Boyle. Poole, advisor to former Governor Mike Easley, was led into the courtroom with his hands cuffed behind his back. Boyle read a summary of the 64-page indictment that refers to Poole as the “Little Governor” because of his role as Easley’s right-hand man.
The 51 charges against Poole include extortion, mail fraud, and money laundering, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years plus fines; bribery and monetary transactions in criminally derived property, each carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years plus fines; and racketeering, carrying a maximum sentence of five years plus fines. All parties agreed on the terms for Poole’s bail–$50,000 unsecured bond, that he surrenders his passport and any firearms, and that he restrict his travel to the states of NC, VA, and MD.
The entire court appearance lasted less than 15 minutes. The press outside the courthouse waited longer for Poole to appear and be whisked away by his attorney.