The corruption trial of Ruffin Poole, a longtime aide to former Gov. Mike Easley, will start much sooner than Poole wanted.
U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle ordered Tuesday that the trial start on May 3, rejecting arguments from Poole's lawyer that he needed the summer to prepare.
Prosecutors initially sought a mid-May trial on more than 50 corruption counts brought against Poole, who was a counsel to the former governor in his two terms. Poole wanted a trial in August.
More recently, prosecutors had said they wanted to quickly resolve the Poole case and a broader probe of Easley, a Democrat who left office last year.
The charges relate to allegations of money and gifts Poole received from prominent developers. He also is accused of taking state action on permits the developers needed. Poole has pleaded not guilty to all counts, which include extortion, bribery, money laundering and tax evasion.
It's not unheard of for a federal trial to start within months of an indictment. Kevin Geddings, a former state lottery commissioner, went to trial four months after his indictment in 2006.
Federal rules give judges wide latitude to decide when a trial should begin, according to experts.
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