South Carolina first circuit solicitor David Pascoe will get to argue his case before the judge who basically told him to sit down and shut up earlier this month.
Two weeks ago, S.C. circuit court judge Carmen Mullen imposed a controversial probationary sentence on former state lawmaker Rick Quinn – who pleaded guilty in mid-December to one count of misconduct in office as part of a broad plea deal related to #ProbeGate, an ongoing investigation into corruption in state government.
Pascoe had argued that the 52-year-old powerbroker should serve a full year behind bars, calling him “the most corrupt lawmaker” in Columbia, S.C. – a key cog in an elaborate pay-to-play network.
Mullen disagreed, and gave Quinn two years probation for his crime.
Not only that, she refused to let Pascoe address the court regarding alleged issues with Quinn’s plea agreement.
The special prosecutor – who has previously survived a pair of high-profile attempts to boot him from this case – was furious.
Days after the sentencing, Pascoe filed a motion urging Mullen to reconsider the punishment she imposed on Quinn – arguing that the judge “refused to permit the state to be heard or lodge objections on the basis of potential flaws with the guilty plea.”
Pascoe also accused Mullen of telling him before the December hearing to “go light on the facts so the plea won’t blow up.”
News of Pascoe’s motion was first reported by this news site – and also by reporter John Monk of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper – ten days ago.[timed-content-server show=”2018-Feb-15 00:00:00″ hide=”2018-Mar-01 00:00:00″]
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In the aftermath of her ruling, Quinn has gone on the warpath against Pascoe – while the motivations of some of the prosecutor’s witnesses have been called into question. One lawmaker – state representative Jason Elliott, – has also urged Pascoe to get a move on and issue any indictments of sitting elected officials prior to the close of the Palmetto State’s partisan primary filing period on March 30.
Will he do so?
We don’t know … but we do know Pascoe will now get the chance to say what he wanted to say during Quinn’s sentencing hearing on February 12.
Mullen has scheduled a hearing in her Beaufort County, S.C. courtroom for 9:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday, according to reporter Glenn Smith of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier.
#ProbeGate has centered around powerful corporate and governmental interests represented by the consulting firm of Quinn’s influential father – “Republican” political strategist Richard Quinn. The elder Quinn was facing a criminal conspiracy charge – however it was dropped in December as part of his son’s plea deal.
Three others are still facing charges – S.C. State Senator John Courson, S.C. code commissioner and former House judiciary chairman Jim Harrison and former state representative Tracy Edge – and Pascoe has intimated in court that other officials could be indicted in connection with the inquiry.
#ProbeGate has already cost three influential officials their jobs: Quinn, former S.C. majority leader Jimmy Merrill and former S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell.
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