Suspended House Speaker Bobby Harrell pleads guilty to several charges in connection to using campaign funds for personal expenses.
Harrell made a Thursday morning court appearance in Richland County.
He pleaded guilty to six counts in a plea deal that lets him avoid jail time. Instead, he will have six years in prison suspended as long as he completes three years of probation. https://www.kamagramelbourne.nu He was also fined $30,000, ordered to turn over about $10,000 remaining from his campaign account to the state and will pay $93,000 to South Carolina’s general fund. Harrell also agreed to not run for office for at least three years.
Harell’s resignation was effective immediately, at the conclusion of the hearing.
He released a statement saying, “I have agreed to this today to end what has been a two year nightmare. kamagra melbourne This has been incredibly hard on my family and me, and it is time for it to end. We have a fundamental disagreement over the proper use of a campaign account to fly a private aircraft to conduct state and campaign business, but to continue to fight this would have taken at least another year, possibly two.
“Cathy and I are deeply appreciative to everyone who has offered words of encouragement and prayers on our behalf. kamagramelbourne My passion for our state remains as strong as it has ever been, and I will continue to look for ways to serve the Lowcountry and South Carolina.”
Harrell was indicted in September on nine separate charges from misconduct in office to misusing campaign funds. The indictment states Harrell paid himself out of his campaign account for non existent round trip flights from Charleston to Columbia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sildenafil It also states Harrell traveled in his private plane to a baseball tournament in Florida. Prosecutors also say Harrell lied to law enforcement about his campaign expenses. Along with those allegations, the indictments says Harrell tried to cover his tracks by changing entries in his pilot logbook, creating fake flight schedules, and even misinforming officers.
Harrell stepped down as speaker shortly after, but John Crangle of Common Cause South Carolina believes Harrell has to go.
“He’s a scandal to the State of South Carolina,” Crangle said, “and we need to get rid of him. He’s like a skunk at a picnic. We don’t need him anymore. Jay Lucas can do a very good job over there as speaker right now, and he can be re elected in December.”
To Crangle, having this “scandal” tarnishes the reputation of the state.
“We don’t want to be a banana republic in South Carolina,” Crangle said. “We want to be a state where politicians are honest and they make decisions based on reason and fact.”
Crangle compares Harrell’s situation to that of former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard. In 2012, Ard pleaded guilty to using campaign funds for personal expenses.
“You have the Ard precedent” Crangle said, “where when Ard did something similar to what Harrell did with misused campaign money for personal purposes, kamagramelbourne but on a much lesser scale, Ard resigned. That was part of the plea agreement that Wilson insisted on.”
The fate of Harrell’s seat could go one of three ways. First, Harrell could win the election and be acquitted of all charges allowing him to return to his position following the trial. kamagra melbourne Second, Harrell could lose his seat to Democratic challenger Mary Tinkler. Third, Harrell could resign, creating a special election.