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John Courson Indicted




S.C. Senator John Courson has been indicted in connection with the ongoing probe into alleged corruption at the S.C. State House, The (Columbia, S.C) State newspaper reported late Thursday.

More indictments are coming soon, we’re told …

According to reporter John Monk, the veteran lawmaker is accused of converting campaign funds for personal use and misconduct in office.  That latter charge is the most serious – carrying with it a possible ten-year prison sentence.

Courson’s indictment is expected to be formally announced on Friday, according to the paper.  At that point, he is expected to be suspended from office pending the outcome of the charges against him.

Other targets of the investigation could also be indicted Friday, we’re told – although sources close to the investigation declined to provide us with names.

Courson’s attorney, Rosemary Parham of Florence, S.C., issued a statement to the newspaper on her client’s behalf vigorously protesting his innocence.

“These allegations are completely false,” the statement attributed to Courson noted.  “I have done nothing wrong. I value my integrity and have spent all of my years as a public servant embracing the highest standards of ethical conduct. I believe the most important things one leaves behind in this life are one’s children and one’s reputation. While it is unfortunate to be charged by a partisan Democrat under questionable motives and authority, I have no doubt that I will be cleared and exonerated of these accusations.”

Courson has represented S.C. Senate District 20 (map) since 1985.  From 2012 to 2014 he was president of the State Senate, a job he relinquished to avoid having to become lieutenant governor.

Courson’s indictment came as a shock to those following this ongoing investigation – which was exclusively unearthed by this website back in September of 2014.  At no point during that time has there speculation that the 72-year-old lawmaker from Columbia was under investigation – let alone on the verge of being indicted.

Having said that, Courson has been affiliated for decades with the political consulting empire of neo-Confederate political consultant Richard Quinn and his son, S.C. Rep. Rick Quinn (below).

(Click to view)

(Via Travis Bell Photography)

As this website exclusively reported last spring, both Quinns were named in the still-secret pages of a December 2013 investigative report prepared by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).  That document formed the basis for the current investigation, which seeks to determine whether state lawmakers have been abusing their positions of public trust for personal gain.

According to sources familiar with the report, the Quinns were mentioned by S.C. Rep. Jimmy Merrill – who was suspended from office earlier this year after getting slapped with a thirty-count indictment that could land him in jail for more than six decades.

Merrill has yet to negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors – and could be facing additional charges.

Previously, the investigation brought down powerful former S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell.  After pleading guilty to six ethics violations in October 2014, Harrell resigned his office, received three years of probation and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors – which he has done.

It remains to be seen who else will be ensnared by the investigation – which is being run by S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe with cooperation from SLED.

The case was referred to Pascoe in July 2015 by S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson, who as fate would have it could wind up being a target of the investigation.

Last year, as Pascoe was preparing to bring charges, Wilson barred his access to the grand jury room.  Then he fired him – and attempted to replace him with a different prosecutor (one who declined to take the job).  Next, Wilson clumsy attempted to politicize the case – angrily attacking Pascoe’s integrity.

Pascoe took the case to the Supreme Court – and won.

Now he’s flexing his muscle, although as we’ve previously reported he is under pressure to indict members of his own party who have allegedly run afoul of state ethics statutes.

Banner via Travis Bell Photography