SC attorney general: Public records have limits

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's top prosecutor says he supports the public's right to know what its government is doing. But he draws the line when releasing information might jeopardize a criminal investigation.

Attorney General Alan Wilson defended his office's decision not to release a report on the investigation into former Saluda County Sheriff Jason Booth, who pleaded guilty in August to a misdemeanor for using an inmate to do work at his home. Booth paid a $900 fine.

Since the State Grand Jury handled the indictment against Booth, Wilson's office concluded under state law any testimony or evidence put before it must remain secret if not released in court.

Wilson says it is a necessary gap in the public records law to protect people who testify before the State Grand Jury.