Ravenel pleads guilty to federal cocaine charges

A guilty plea was entered from former state treasurer Thomas Ravenel.

The 45-year-old detailed his cocaine use in federal court Thursday. Ravenel says over a two-year period starting in 2005 he bought the drug and sometimes shared it with friends at Charleston-area parties. Ravenel says he was never addicted, but rather to cope with childhood issues that surfaced during recent rehab sessions.

Ravenel issued a statement after the hearing, saying the issues he referred to are the ones that arose when his parents divorced when he was 10 years old. He also said divorce is always hard on young children.

From the start I've accepted responsibility. I'm cooperating with the government. I'm ready to put this sad chapter behind me and move forward, Ravenel said.

The feds say Ravenel never sold cocaine, but that he just bought it from two co-defendants, one of them 25-year-old Michael Miller who's free on bond.

Since the start, some, including the NAACP, have questioned if the wealthy and powerful Ravenel would be treated differently than the black Charleston disc jockey. U.S. Attorney Reggie Lloyd confident both have been treated fairly: everything we do up here is public business and anyone's welcome to come up and see what we're doing. I think it's hard for people to make judgments about Mr. Ravenel versus any of the co-defendants right now because there are still a lot of facts our there right now that for obvious reasons cannot be known right now.

Another co-defendant, 53-year-old Pasquale Pellicoro, is apparently on the run after missing a Wednesday court date. Pellicoro tells a Charleston-area newspaper that he's in Switzerland and not planning an immediate return.

Ravenel faces up to 20-years in prison and a million dollar fine.

But Federal prosecutors say Ravenel is fully cooperating in this on-going investigation of the Charleston-area drug trade and the government could recommend a reduced sentence.

Sentencing is still possibly months away.

A federal probation officer will review the facts and recommend a sentence and a judge will then decide on sentencing, taking anywhere from six to eight weeks.