BIG DECISION COMING …
There’s a major ruling coming out this week in connection with #ProbeGate – the ongoing criminal investigation into corruption in South Carolina state government.
At a 9:30 a.m. EDT hearing on Friday at the Richland County, S.C. judicial center, state circuit court judge Knox McMahon will issue his long-awaited response to a motion filed by attorneys representing the embattled Palmetto political consulting empire of “Republican” Richard Quinn.
At issue? Whether special prosecutor David Pascoe should be removed from an ongoing investigation that has drawn a bead on Quinn’s firm.
Pascoe is accused of improperly possessing attorney-client material obtained during a March raid of Quinn’s firm. Attorneys for Quinn and his son – suspended state representative Rick Quinn – are alleging that agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) failed to implement proper “taint procedures” in connection with this raid, which was authorized by a statewide grand jury.
They further argue that material obtained in the raid – including information containing attorney-client subject matter – was stored improperly within Pascoe’s office in Orangeburg, S.C. and belatedly placed under seal by one of the GOP solicitors working alongside the Democratic prosecutor.
Pascoe repeatedly argued in court that he has yet to view any of the materials obtained in connection with the raid, however attorneys for the Quinns are arguing his mere possession of the unsealed documents should be enough to disqualify him from any further involvement in the case.
Do they have a valid argument? We’ll find out soon …
“Taint procedures” are used by investigators to ensure that attorney-client privileged material is not collected by agents during the execution of such warrants. The collection of such material could, conceivably, lead to a violation of a defendant’s sixth amendment rights.
Sources close to the “Quinndom” tell us they are confident such a violation has occurred in this case – and that McMahon will rule in favor of their motion. Specifically, they provided us with a document from the American Bar Association (ABA) highlighting what they allege to be the “basis of this motion.”
Take a look (emphasis added) …
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Our Quinn sources say they have no objection to the investigation continuing. They also say they have no objection to any of the evidence obtained in the raid being submitted in open court, provided it is not attorney-client work product.
Grand jury indictments have already been handed down in connection with this case against Quinn and another former S.C. House majority leader, Jimmy Merrill. Both men have been accused of leveraging their public offices for personal financial gain. Former S.C. Senate president John Courson – a longtime intimate of the “Quinndom” – has also been indicted in connection with the case. He stands accused of illegally converting campaign cash to personal use via a series of kickbacks from Richard Quinn’s firm.
Additional indictments are expected in the months to come.
To say the stakes are huge would be a colossal understatement. If this last-ditch effort to remove Pascoe fails, the “Quinndom” will likely go down.
If McMahon removes Pascoe from the probe, however, a three-year investigation would be totally upended – and another prosecutor would have to be assigned to the case.
Pascoe survived a high-profile attempt to remove him from this probe last spring, and we have every expectation he will survive this one. We will be keeping a close eye on McMahon’s ruling, however.
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