It’s looking more and more like suspended South Carolina House of Reps. Speaker Bobby Harrell will be pleading guilty to criminal ethics charges stemming from faulty use of campaign money and misconduct while in office, according to a local paper Wednesday.
Harrell, a Republican who until last month had been serving as the House speaker since 2005, was indicted on nine counts on Sept. 9 for illegal use of campaign funds, such as fudging the numbers in his private plane’s logbook in order to reimburse himself for travel he never took, among other questionable activities. According to the prosecutor, David Pascoe, Harrell is scheduled to appear in Columbia for a hearing Thursday morning.
The case comes after the state Supreme Court ruled last June that the state Attorney General holds the authority for investigation based on a citizen’s ethics complaint.
An anonymous source tied closely to the investigation told The Charleston Post and Courier that Harrell is planning on entering a plea of “guilty.”
It is not known at this time, however, whether the guilty plea will be to all nine charges, or just one or some of the charges. Pascoe decline to comment.
Harrell and his attorney have declined to comment on the plea so far, as well, but have called the case a “political vendetta” in the past, waged at the behest of South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.
Wilson is a fellow Republican, and is responsible for ordering the investigation, as well as convening a grand jury. He also appointed Pascoe as the prosecutor.
Partisan cannibalism sure can get ugly.