Gov. Mike Easley said he believed McQueen Campbell was paid for all the flights he provided.
Easley said Campbell told him that he was reimbursed, and that Campbell should have known that he needed to submit invoices to avoid problems with the state's campaign finance reporting laws.
"He's not an imbecile," Easley said., "I'm sure he knows he has to bill the campaign...that's something he would have known."
State Board of Elections chairman Larry Leake asked Easley why he didn't check again with Campbell after news reports, particularly in The News & Observer began to highlight unpaid flights.
Easley said he was busy trying to finish his tenure as governor.
"I was trying to get things done, tie up loose ends," he said. "I wasn't out there trying to second-guess somebody I trusted who told me they had been reimbursed for everything they had done for the campaign."