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#ProbeGate: Accused Seek To Have Special Prosecutor Removed

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HEARING SCHEDULED IN ANTI-CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION …

Those accused of wrongdoing – or staring down indictments – in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation into public corruption at the South Carolina State House are trying to remove the special prosecutor who is investigating them.

A public hearing on the matter has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. EDT on May 23 before S.C. circuit court judge Knox McMahon.

At issue?  Whether S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe should be allowed to continue his ongoing probe – which has drawn a bead on the neo-Confederate political consulting empire of veteran “Republican” advisor Richard Quinn.

Quinn’s firm – Cayce, S.C.-based Richard Quinn and Associates – is the most influential political empire in South Carolina.  It boasts a client list that includes powerful Palmetto political leaders – including U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, S.C. Senate president Hugh Leatherman, governor Henry McMaster and S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson.

“The Quinndom” also represents a host of special interests and government agencies – raking in big bucks off of taxpayers.

Have they made their money ethically, though?

Quinn and his son – S.C. Rep. Rick Quinn – were named in the pages of a December 2013 S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) report that served as the basis for this investigation.  More recently, Quinn’s offices were reportedly raided in connection with the probe.

What did he find?  Clearly it’s something the Quinns don’t want out in the open.

Pascoe has already survived one high-profile attempt to oust him from this role.

Last March, Pascoe was preparing to convene a grand jury for the purpose of handing down indictments – efforts which were supported by SLED chief Mark Keel and presiding circuit court judge Clifton Newman.

Without offering an explanation, though, Wilson barred Pascoe access to the grand jury.  Then he fired him – and tried to replace him with a different prosecutor (one who declined to take the job).  Next, Wilson clumsy attempted to politicize the case – angrily and baselessly attacking Pascoe’s integrity.

Pascoe took Wilson to the Supreme Court – and won.

It’s hard to imagine a circuit court judge coming along and effectively overturning that ruling, but this is South Carolina … we’ve seen stranger things happen.

“Never underestimate an evil empire,” one source close to the investigation told us.

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According to our sources, this latest effort to boot Pascoe from the case is what has been holding up the latest round of indictments – which were rumored to be imminent a month ago.

As we reported exclusively earlier this year, agents of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are said to be actively involved in the investigation – and early last month it was reported that three Republican solicitors had come on board to assist Pascoe in managing the probe.  There are also rumors of immunity deals being struck with multiple witnesses.

Exclusively unearthed by this website back in September of 2014, the probe’s first victim was former S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell, who resigned from his influential position in October 2014 after pleading guilty to six ethics charges.  Harrell (below) has since turned state’s evidence, and is cooperating with investigators.

Incidentally, it was Harrell’s refusal to appoint the younger Quinn to an influential legislative committee post that served as the impetus for this entire drama.

Last December, former S.C. House majority leader Jimmy Merrill was suspended from office after being hit with a thirty-count indictment alleging an assortment of pay-to-play schemes.  In March, former S.C. Senator John Courson was suspended after being slapped with a three-count indictment accusing him of illegally converting campaign cash for personal use as part of a “kickback” scheme with Quinn.

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