SC legislator says federal charge because of worker’s actions

abeam@thestate.comNovember 26, 2013 

Stephen Goldfinch

— State Rep. Stephen Goldfinch says he is facing federal charges over the mislabeling of stem cells.

The charges stem from a 2011 indictment of Vincent Dammai, a former MUSC professor who was a contractor for Goldfinch’s former company, Caledonia Consulting. According to the indictment, Dammai would create stem cells for sale for non-research related purposes without following procedures set forth by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Dammai pleaded guilty in federal court in July, according to court records. He has yet to be sentenced. Goldfinch, a Republican from Georgetown County, said the government contacted him last week and told him that, because Goldfinch was Dammai’s employer, he is liable under FDA’s rules – whether he knew about Dammai’s actions or not.

Federal prosecutors in Texas had not yet filed court documents naming Goldfinch. (UPDATE: The U.S. Attorney's office filed charges on Wednesday morning.) But Goldfinch said “the government” contacted him Friday and told him they would charge him with a simple misdemeanor and recommend probation.

“At this point, unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about it but acknowledge it and accept it and take responsibility for it,” Goldfinch said. “All I can do is tell the truth and tell it fast. I know that at the end of the day people will see the truth about this thing, and I look forward to being able to tell my story to everybody.”

If Goldfinch is convicted, it does not appear he will have to give up his seat in the state Legislature. State law would require Goldfinch to be suspended if he were convicted of a felony, a charge carrying a sentence of two years in prison or more or a “crime of moral turpitude.”

“At this point, we don’t believe I fall into any of those,” he said.

Goldfinch’s charges were first reported by The Georgetown Times.

Reach Beam at (803) 386-7038.

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