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Published: Wednesday, May 09, 1990
Page: P1A

Arch A. Moore, the state's only three-term governor, entered guilty pleas Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston to charges of extortion, mail fraud, two counts of filing false tax returns and obstruction of justice.

Moore confirmed his guilt to each of the five charges to U.S. District Judge Walter Hoffman. With his wife, Shelley, sitting behind him in the crowded courtroom, Moore stood before Hoffman accompanied by his lawyer, William Hundley.

When he was asked by the judge how he would plead to the first count of the indictment, Moore said, "Your honor" and paused and looked down. "My plea is guilty," he said after several seconds Then Moore, in a strong voice, admitted his guilt to the remaining four counts against him.

Moore, 67, signed an agreement April 12 to plead guilty to the indictment after he was told federal investigators tape recorded his.

attempt to obstruct the investigation of his activities with his 1988 campaign manager, John Leaberry.

The indictment charged him with accepting illegal payments in the 1984 and 1988 election campaigns, with extorting more than $500,000 from a coal operator in 1985 and with obstructing the federal investigation.

"Today's plea represents the notion that no one's conduct is above the law, and that when someone steps outside the bounds of the law, there are penalties to pay," U.S. Attorney Michael Carey said following the hearing.

"At this point we need to look forward. The citizens of this.

state will not accept anything but honest government," Carey said on the state's primary day.

Moore left the Federal Building without comment. He could receive up to 36 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines.

Hoffman set a July 10 sentencing date for Moore. The judge questioned the agreement between Moore and federal prosecutors under which four of the charges would fall under old federal sentencing guidelines and only the obstruction of justice count would be considered under the new, stricter guidelines.

The judge said there was reason to believe that all counts could.

be considered under new guidelines. The judge asked for a memorandum on the subject from the lawyers.

During the hearing, John Campbell, a prosecutor for the U.S. Justice Department Public Integrity section, told Hoffman that Leaberry had signed a plea agreement with the government and cooperated in the Moore investigation.

Campbell also said that in 1984, when Moore received $100,000 in.

illegal cash campaign contributions, he referred to the money as part of his "underground campaign." Campbell said details of the fund will be released in a pre-sentence report.

Hoffman, 8 conducted the hearing in a deliberate manner. "I know you have been known by the name of Arch A. Moore for many years. Is that your name?" Hoffman asked, going through the proscribed formalities. "Yes," Moore said.

The judge asked him if the extortion count involved violence.

Moore answered "No." After the judge read each count to him and asked him how he pleaded, Moore said, "Guilty, your honor." Moore paused for a second time after Hoffman asked him if he was threatened in any way to plead guilty to the charges. "No," Moore said after several seconds' hesitation.

"Do you believe your rights have been violated by police or agents?" Hoffman asked. "I do not," Moore said.

"Are you satisfied your constitutional rights have not been violated?" the judge asked. "Yes," Moore said.

Asked about his agreement to cooperate in further federal investigations, Moore said, "I have fulfilled and will continue to fulfill that obligation." As part of that agreement, Moore testified last week in the extortion trial of Tri-State Greyhound Park partner William Ellis.

"The cooperation is intended for a reasonable period of time," Hoffman said. "It is not intended to be slavery for life." Carey said after the hearing that Moore's hesitation in pleading guilty showed that "he responded very thoughtfully." Moore lost his bid 1988 for an unprecedented fourth term as.

governor to Gaston Caperton. He has been in public life for 38 years.

HE SERVED IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE, THE U.S. HOUSE OF Representatives and as a two-term governor in the 1970s and again from 1984 to 1988.

He lost a race for the U.S. Senate in 1978 to former Sen.

Jennings Randolph and was defeated by Sen. Jay Rockefeller in the.

race for governor in 1980. Moore is a decorated veteran of World War II.

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