After federal court sentence, former SCDOT commissioner could face charges at state level

After federal court sentence, former SCDOT commissioner could face charges at state level
John Hardee has been accused of taking bribes in exchange for infrastructure projects

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A former South Carolina Department of Transportation Commissioner was sentenced to 45 days of house arrest and 18 months probation Wednesday on an obstruction charge connected to an investigation into whether he received bribes for infrastructure projects.

John Hardee will also have 40 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine, but now the state of South Carolina may bring additional charges.

In a letter to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel dated Thursday, state Attorney General Alan Wilson asked SLED to continue their investigation into Hardee at the state level.

A witness kept confidential in the federal court sentencing memorandum told investigators that Hardee provided bribes and kickbacks to public officials in exchange for the award of government infrastructure contracts. The witness claimed he paid money to Hardee for contracts, but couldn’t identify a project that had been awarded based upon his own payments.

According to the federal court documents, Hardee and the witness had multiple recorded conversations about the payments and how best to explain them to the FBI.

Attorneys for the government stated they cannot prove that Hardee engaged in an “official act” as required by the federal bribery statute, but says that his crime “lies only in his decision to attempt to obstruct an investigation.”

Hardee agreed in January to plead guilty to tampering with evidence in a federal investigation. He served on the commission most recently from 2014 to 2018.

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