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#ProbeGate: Solicitors Seeking Deals

Latest round of indictments raises the stakes of ongoing investigation …

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South Carolina solicitors working at the direction of special prosecutor David Pascoe have approached attorneys representing the two former Palmetto State lawmakers indicted yesterday in connection with #ProbeGate, an ongoing multi-jurisdictional investigation into corruption in state government.

Their goal?  Duh … cutting a deal.

According to our sources, attorneys for former state representatives Jim Harrison and Tracy Edge have been contacted by Pascoe’s prosecutors in the hopes of reaching cooperation agreements similar to the deals inked with former S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell and former House majority leader Jim Merrill.

Harrell resigned his influential post in October of 2014 after pleading guilty to six ethics charges while Merrill stepped down prior to pleading guilty to one count of misconduct in office earlier this year.  Twenty-nine additional charges are still hanging over Merrill’s head … ensuring he tells prosecutors everything they want to know.

Will Harrison and Edge be the next to turn state’s evidence?

Harrison – the current S.C. code commissioner – was indicted yesterday on criminal conspiracy, common law misconduct in office and statutory misconduct in office charges.  Meanwhile Edge was indicted on criminal conspiracy, common law misconduct in office, statutory misconduct in office and perjury charges.

Both ex-lawmakers were summoned to appear before the statewide grand jury investigating #ProbeGate back in March (see here and here for our coverage of their appearances).

According to our sources, both Harrison and Edge were shocked to learn they had been charged in connection with the investigation.  Both believed they had been summoned to the grand jury for the sole purpose of providing testimony in connection with the man believed to be the top target of the investigation – influential “Republican” political strategist Richard Quinn.

Quinn was indicted yesterday on one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of failing to register as a lobbyist.  We’re told additional charges – and possibly some federal charges – are likely forthcoming against the veteran consultant, whose stable of clients has included the Palmetto State’s most powerful politicians, businesses and government agencies.

Quinn’s son, suspended state representative Rick Quinn, was also hit with a conspiracy charge – adding to the two misconduct in office indictments issued against him back in May.  Both Quinns’ connection to this investigation was exclusively reported by this news site last April.

The elder Quinn was also named (but not charged) in March in a three-count indictment of suspended State Senator (and former Senate president) John Courson.  Courson was indicted yesterday on criminal conspiracy and statutory misconduct in office charges, and is now facing five criminal counts in connection with the probe.

Where is all of this going?

That’s a question no one but Pascoe and his prosecutors have the answers to …

This investigation has been littered with the names of numerous other politicians and the powerful special interests pulling their strings.  Bottom line?  If Pascoe can continue getting those under the microscope to turn on each other, there’s no telling how high this investigation could go …

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