By MEG KINNARD
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Former state Sen. Robert Ford has pleaded guilty to four of the eight charges against him.
The Charleston Democrat on Wednesday pleaded guilty to misconduct in office, forgery, and two violations of the state ethics law.
Ford was indicted last year. State prosecutors say he improperly benefited from his public office, using campaign money for personal use, then filing false campaign reports and submitting forgeries to the Senate Ethics Committee.
Sentencing has been scheduled for April. Ford faces more than a decade in prison.
After the hearing, Ford told reporters he is innocent and only pleaded guilty to avoid the cost of a trial. He called his investigation a "witch hunt."
Ford resigned from the Senate in 2013 during hearings on similar allegations.