AG sends Harrell ethics case to State Grand Jury

<p> <font size="2">AG sends Harrell ethics case to State Grand Jury</font> </p>

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's chief prosecutor has handed over his review of a state police report on ethics allegations against Speaker Bobby Harrell to the State Grand Jury.

Attorney General Alan Wilson made that announcement on Monday. A month ago, Wilson's office received what it called a "voluminous" report from the State Law Enforcement Division.

At Wilson's request, state police began looking at the case after South Carolina Policy Council President Ashley Landess alleged the Charleston Republican used his office to boost his finances by using influence to get a permit for his pharmaceutical business.

The libertarian think tank also took issue with Harrell appointing his brother to a committee that screens judicial candidates.

Harrell quickly responded to the Attorney General's decision.

"It is disappointing that the Attorney General notified the press before contacting my attorneys or me about this decision.

"This decision contradicts every indication that SLED and the Attorney General's Office have given us on the progress of this investigation. I have cooperated fully and voluntarily with this investigation, provided access to everything they requested and met with investigators for several interviews.

"At every stage of this investigation it was reiterated to us that investigators have found no areas of concern. Given every indication we have received from SLED and the Attorney General, I am disappointed and shocked by this sudden change of course.

"This has drawn on for far too long and been done behind closed doors. I call on the Attorney General to immediately release the entire SLED report to the public. This report contains the facts of this matter, facts that have been kept from the public and even kept from my attorneys and me."