FOR NOW …
In a ruling that shocked Palmetto political observers (including this website’s founding editor), the S.C. Supreme Court ruled this week that S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson may continue his grand jury investigation into powerful S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell.
Harrell’s attorneys had hoped to shut down Wilson’s probe by sending the case to the S.C. House Ethics Committee – a panel of state lawmakers best known for their cover-ups of multiple scandals, including the 2012 ethics probe of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley.
Wilson immediately appealed Manning’s ruling – and won.
“The House Ethics Committee’s concurrent civil regulatory authority does not affect the Attorney General’s authority to initiate a criminal investigation in any way, whether or not there is a referral, or even a pending House investigation,” the court ruled.
The decision was unanimous … but is not the final word in the case.
Harrell’s lawyers will now have the opportunity to go back to the circuit court and argue for Wilson’s removal from the case – a decision Manning has now been cleared to issue. Assuming he sides with Harrell and boots Wilson, the court will get another bite at this particular apple.
“We reverse the circuit court order, and remand this case to the circuit court for a decision on whether the Attorney General should be disqualified from participating in these state grand jury proceedings,” the justices wrote.
The court’s ruling was written by chief justice Jean Toal, who was widely expected to side with Harrell given his Herculean efforts to get her reelected to her post earlier this year.
Wonder if she got “the message?”