CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Suspended Rep. Jim Merrill will face a judge Thursday after being indicted on 30 charges in connection with a South Carolina Statehouse corruption probe.
The representative for Berkeley and Charleston counties faces two counts of misconduct in office and 28 counts for violations of the Ethics, Government Accountability, and Campaign Reform Act of 1991.
First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe announced the charges last week.
According to a legal document, Merill is accused of accepting payment from organizations to introduce and influence legislation.
"At this point in the process, the indictments are mere accusations," Pascoe said. "Mr. Merrill is presumed innocent until proven guilty. I also need to point out that this is still an ongoing investigation. Therefore, I will have no further comment regarding this matter."
Attorneys representing Merrill released the following statement:
"Representative Jim Merrill adamantly denies the charges brought against him by Solicitor David Pascoe. He has served honorably and in good faith as a part time member of the General Assembly. For over 20 years, his vocation and livelihood has been in the field of advertising, direct mail, and public relations.
Contrary to the flawed allegations made today, the work performed by Jim Merrill's private company was completely legal and legitimate. Solicitor Pascoe has charged Representative Merrill for conduct that is not illegal under South Carolina law. In fact, the charges include conduct that has been declared legal in written opinions by the South Carolina Attorney General, the bi-partisan House Ethics Committee, and the State Ethics Commission."