South Carolina

Pascoe seeks to open censored parts of state grand jury report about ex-Rep. Quinn

Corruption probe in the South Carolina State House

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Special prosecutor David Pascoe is asking a state judge to open up now-sealed portions of a state grand jury report that are related to ex-state Rep. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington.

“While Mr. Quinn may not approve of the grand jury’s findings and wish to suppress portions of the report that portray him in a negative light, this is not a valid ground for denying the citizens of the state access to important information about its elected officials,” wrote Pascoe in a motion to Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman.

Parts of the state grand jury report that pertain to Quinn — nearly four pages of a 55-page report, most of which was made public in early October — were put under seal by Judge Newman at the request of Matthew Richardson, an attorney for Quinn.

Richardson had argued Quinn, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of official misconduct late last year, might be put on trial again and information about him in the grand jury report could prejudice his right to a fair trial.

In his motion, Pascoe said nothing in the censored portion of the report “would prejudice his (Quinn’s) right to a fair trial” if he stood trial again. In any case, he added, prospective jurors would be screened to ensure they would be impartial.

Richardson, Quinn’s attorney, said Thursday he had not seen Pascoe’s motion and could not comment.

The grand jury report depicted a State House where some lawmakers hide their outside sources of income and take official actions based on the influence of anonymous “dark money,” not their own independent judgment.

Pascoe’s four-year investigation has led to the resignations and guilty pleas or convictions of five prominent Republican lawmakers. Four were indicted by the state grand jury that authored the report. One indicted former lawmaker, ex-Rep. Tracy Edge, R-Horry, has yet to stand trial.