S.C. Rep. Stephen Goldfinch (RINO-Georgetown) will plead guilty to federal charges in connection with his role in a stem cell harvesting operation.

Goldfinch’s role in this criminal enterprise – first exposed by FITS – has now been confirmed by The Georgetown (S.C.) Times.

In an interview with the paper, Goldfinch blamed his forthcoming guilty plea on Dr. Vincent Dammai – a Texas-based molecular biologist and former Medical University of South Carolina professor who pleaded guilty this summer to a misdemeanor charge of “mislabeling” stem cells.

“Unfortunately, the FDA regulations differ from state laws, and provide that partners, like myself, are responsible for their employees or independent contractors, regardless of knowledge or intent,” Goldfinch told the paper. “Therefore, I will have no choice but to plead guilty, since I was a partner and did have responsibility for my wayward contractor.”

Dammai has vigorously protested his innocence in the matter – and sources familiar with the scam tell FITS he was duped into participating by Goldfinch. They say Goldfinch concocted an elaborate plot to profit from the illegal organ trade while pinning the blame for everything on Dammai in the event something went wrong – which it clearly did.

As noted in our original report, the stem cells involved in this scam were obtained through two Conway, S.C. birthing clinics – and routed through MUSC. Sources tell FITS public funds may have been misappropriated in connection with the operation.

Goldfinch was elected to his seat last November, replacing a solid free market supporter – Kevin Ryan. Until this scandal broke, he was best known for his efforts to purchase the Charleston School of Law with public money.

UPDATE: Well that didn’t take long … the chairman of the Georgetown County Republican Party has issued a statement on Goldfinch’s behalf in response to the charges. Its relevant passage: “Representative Goldfinch continues to be an outstanding legislator and represents well the people and concerns of his constituents in the 108th District. His record of accomplishment has far exceeded that typically achieved by freshman legislators. By accepting responsibility and bringing this matter to a swift conclusion, it will not be a distraction from his work as the General Assembly reconvenes in January.”

 UPDATE II: Hey South Carolina, “You’ve been hit by, you’ve been struck by … a smooth criminal.”