Suspended Lowcountry lawmaker to face bond judge Thursday morning

Suspended Lowcountry lawmaker to face bond judge Thursday morning

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - A lawmaker who represents Charleston and Berkeley Counties will face a judge at a bond hearing Thursday morning.

Rep. Jim Merrill was charged on Dec. 14 with two counts of misconduct in office and 28 counts for violations of the Ethics, Government Accountability, and Campaign Reform Act of 1991, according to First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe.

Merrill has been suspended from the House of Representatives.

The charges are in connection with a statehouse corruption probe.

Merrill is due to appear at the Richland County Courthouse in Columbia at 11 a.m.

When the charges were announced, Merrill's attorneys issued a statement on his behalf:

"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.

Representative Merrill acted in good faith and looks forward to defending himself in court."

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