Monday, March 4, 2024

Easley Jr. confirmed as U.S. attorney for Eastern District of N.C.

The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed President Joe Biden’s nomination of Michael Easley Jr. to be one of North Carolina’s top federal prosecutors. (Port City Daily/File)

The U.S. Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s nomination of Michael F. Easley to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. 

Along with two other N.C. nominees, Easley was unanimously confirmed by the chamber Friday. Biden’s three selections for the top federal prosector roles in the state were endorsed by Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis. 

The Eastern District spans from the coast of the Cape Fear region up to Raleigh. In recent months federal attorneys from the district have joined local law enforcement at press conferences to applaud recent investigations and convictions in the realm of gang activity and drug trafficking

Easley, the son of the former N.C. governor, works as a litigation partner for McGuire Woods in Raleigh and attended the UNC School of Law. 

He began representing Boeing in 2019. The airline company was charged earlier this year with defrauding the Federal Aviation Administration, specifically by interfering with the FAA’s evaluation of the systems of the Boeing 737 MAX airplane. Boeing entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the Department of Justice. 

Easley successfully represented Lowe’s Foods in a contract dispute, according to his questionnaire submitted to the Senate. He also represented Duke Energy Progress, Inc. in the company’s challenge to a $25 penalty from N.C. regulators who alleged groundwater contamination at a coal ash facility.  

“I have experience managing expert witnesses, including experts in digital forensics, statistics, anti-money laundering (AML), financial transactions, construction, economics and market power,” according to Easley’s questionnaire responses.

He reported making a handful of campaign speeches for Hilary Clinton in 2008 and supplied copies of seven previous legal writings to the chamber. 

For the Western District, Biden nominated Dena King, who has been leading prosecutions on violent crime and narcotics cases in the district, according to the Associated Press. Sandra Hairston, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, was tapped to fill the post permanently. 

“Dena King, Sandra Hairston, and Michael Easley, Jr. are impressive and qualified individuals who will serve North Carolina well as U.S. Attorneys,” Tillis said in a statement. “I was proud to work with Senator Burr to identify, interview, and recommend these three candidates and I look forward to their success in their new roles. I want to thank the White House for working with us on these nominations and I applaud the Senate for confirming all three.”

The Wilmington Police Department and New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office recently partnered with the FBI on a task force dedicated to combatting gang violence in the Wilmington area. The local law enforcement agencies are providing gang unit officers to the initiative. 

With backing from federal agencies, the task force acts as a “force multiplier for law enforcement,” according to an FBI spokesperson. Federal charges often bring longer prison sentences, with the entirety having to be served in the federal system, and do not allow for parole. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of N.C. joined federal and local law enforcement at a press conference earlier this month to hype an investigation into Ganger Disciple members and a heroin-fentanyl drug-trafficking network that netted 18 convictions. 

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