Judge refuses to throw out SC Rep's tax charges

      Rep. Kris Crawford of Florence

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A judge has refused to throw out tax evasion charges against a South Carolina House member who said it was impossible to get a fair trial because Gov. Nikki Haley discussed his case to try to make her tax problems seem less serious.

      Circuit Judge Thomas Cooper Jr. ruled last week that Haley didn't say anything at last October's news conference that would lead the judge to dismiss the seven counts of failure to file tax returns against Rep. Kris Crawford of Florence.

      Cooper set Crawford's trial for next week, ruling his lawyers could ask to move it from Florence County if they have trouble finding unbiased jurors.

      Authorities say the Republican and physician failed to file state income taxes on time from 2004 to 2007. He denies the charges.

      (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)