Courson, 73, was scheduled to go to trial last month but the proceedings were delayed.
Courson’s trial is now scheduled to begin on June 4, we’re told. S.C. circuit court judge Carmen Mullen will preside over the trial, even though she’s been involved in a lingering dispute with S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe – who is handling all of the#ProbeGate prosecutions.
Pascoe has sought to remove Mullen from the case – accusing her of bias – but she has steadfastly refused to step down.
Courson is facing an ethics charge for allegedly converting campaign funds to personal use as well as a criminal conspiracy charge and three misconduct in office charges. The first three indictments against him were filed last March, while two additional indictments were filed last October.
Courson was suspended from office a year ago in the aftermath of the first round of charges being filed against him. According to the initial round of indictments, he routed nearly a quarter of a million dollars through his campaign account to a company run by his political consultant, Richard Quinn. Roughly half of that money was then allegedly funneled back to Courson via “multiple transactions” totaling more than $130,000.
As of this writing, Courson has yet to present much in the way of a credible explanation for these transactions – although we’re certainly willing to hear him out when he decides to discuss the matter.
As for Quinn, the veteran strategist was in the news earlier this week related to his scheduled appearance before a statewide grand jury later this month.
We reached out to Courson’s attorney, Rose Mary Parham of Florence, S.C., to see if she had any thoughts on the upcoming trial but didn’t immediately hear back.
A local insurance agent, Courson has represented S.C. Senate District 20 (map) since 1985. From 2012 to 2014 he was president of the State Senate, a job he relinquished so as to avoid having to become lieutenant governor.
In addition to Courson, Pascoe has two other defendants still on the hook – state code commissioner and former judiciary chairman Jim Harrison and former state representative Tracy Edge.
So far his investigation has produced guilty pleas (and resignations) from three influential lawmakers – former S.C. speaker of the House Bobby Harrell, former S.C. majority leader Jimmy Merrill and Rick Quinn, the son of Richard Quinn and one of the state’s most influential former majority leaders.
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