Former Gov. Mike Easley gave sworn testimony Wednesday about free flights, the use of a vehicle and campaign-funded repairs to his home that directly contradicted earlier statements in a state Board of Elections hearing.
Easley, a two-term Democratic governor who left office in January, said he never instructed supporter McQueen Campbell to submit false invoices that led to his campaign's paying $11,000 for repairs to Easley's Raleigh home. He said he believed that Campbell had been properly reimbursed for dozens of times he flew Easley on campaign and personal trips.
Easley's five-hour appearance on the third day of the board's hearings was a rare sight: a former governor being questioned about possible crime by five members of a state board, three of whom he appointed.
Easley grimaced when asked about Campbell, his longtime friend, political ally and pilot. Campbell had testified Monday that he flew Easley without getting paid and fixed Easley's house in Raleigh, then had to pester the governor for reimbursement -- which eventually came from campaign money.
Easley conceded that his campaign likely had not met its responsibility under state law to properly pay for flights that Campbell had provided, flights valued by Campbell at more than $100,000.
Board Chairman Larry Leake said he believes testimony showed the law was broken in that area: "Clearly, there was a violation."
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