A bond hearing has been scheduled in connection with the latest #ProbeGate charges, South Carolina special prosecutor David Pascoe‘s office announced on Monday.
The news comes less than a week after fresh indictments were issued by a statewide grand jury in connection with this ongoing, multi-jurisdictional investigation into corruption in state government.
The latest arraignment hearing has been scheduled for 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday (October 24) at the Richland County Judicial Center in downtown Columbia, S.C. State circuit court judge Jocelyn Newman is slated to preside over the hearing.
Scheduled to be arraigned for the first time? Veteran “Republican” political consultant Richard Quinn, who is facing two charges – criminal conspiracy and failure to register as a lobbyist. Quinn’s son, suspended state representative Rick Quinn, will also appear in court on a criminal conspiracy charge. The younger Quinn was previously arraigned back in May on a pair of misconduct in office charges.
He is now facing three charges …
Suspended State Senator John Courson is also scheduled to appear in court for the second time to answer to corruption charges. Courson – already facing three indictments related to an alleged kickback scheme involving the elder Quinn – was hit last week with a conspiracy charge and statutory misconduct in office charge.
Two former state lawmakers – S.C. code commissioner Jim Harrison and Myrtle Beach, S.C. business man Tracy Edge – will also appear in court to answer to charges filed against them.
Harrison has been charged with criminal conspiracy, common law misconduct in office and statutory misconduct in office. Meanwhile Edge is facing four charges – criminal conspiracy, common law misconduct in office, statutory misconduct in office and perjury.
Criminal conspiracy charges could land each defendant in prison for five years – and subject them to a fine of at least $5,000. The charge of failing to register as a lobbyist carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine of not more than $2,500.
As for the misconduct charges, statutory misconduct in office carries a possible prison sentence of one year and a fine not to exceed $1,000. Common law misconduct – the most serious of the charges filed against defendants in connection with this investigation – carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison and fines up to the discretion of the court.
Exclusively uncovered by this website back in 2014, #ProbeGate has already taken out former S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell, who resigned his office three years ago after pleading guilty to six ethics charges. It’s also claimed former S.C. majority leader Jimmy Merrill – who resigned his office the day before he pleaded guilty to one count of misconduct in office in connection with the probe.
Both Harrell and Merrill have signed agreements to cooperate with prosecutors. In fact, Pascoe is holding 29 charges over Merrill’s head in order to ensure his cooperation.
Over the past year, the corporate and political interests of the Quinns – a.k.a. the “Quinndom” – have become a clear focus of the ongoing probe. This includes a March 2017 raid on one of their corporate headquarters (and the stepped up involvement of federal authorities in its aftermath).
News of the Quinns’ proximity to this investigation was exclusively reported by this news site last April.
At prior arraignment hearings, Pascoe has volunteered additional information regarding the charges filed against the defendants in the case. We’ll have to wait and see what new information he volunteers at tomorrow’s hearing …
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