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S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell’s recent hospitalization was not an effort to shift attention away from his corruption case, sources close to the powerful legislative leader tell FITS. ┬áNor is it part of a “conspiracy” aimed at evading accountability.

Harrell – a fiscally liberal, anti-free market “Republican” – is facing a grand jury investigation over a host of alleged abuses.

“Bobby is really sick,” one source familiar with his condition told FITS. “I’m sure the stress of the news this week (isn’t) helping things, but he is legitimately very ill.”

Harrell canceled an appearance in Greenville last week when he first came down with flu-like symptoms, we’re told. Numerous events were canceled from his schedule this week.

“He’ll be back (at the S.C. State House) today,” our source said, adding that Harrell hopes to be “back at full steam next week.”

The source added that Harrell’s illness was in all likelihood “short-term” and there was “no conspiracy stuff” related to its timing.

We obviously don’t wish illness on anyone, and we hope Harrell feels better soon … but that doesn’t change the fact he’s a super-shady guy who has been caught red-handed in violation of multiple state ethics laws.

And who responded, um, poorly …

All of which is why we would once again reiterate our call for him to step down.