Judge's decision in Harrell case could come as early as today

05/12/2014 8:42 AM

05/16/2014 3:57 PM

A judge's decision on whether to halt S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson from pursuing a criminal investigation with the state grand jury into allegations concerning how S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell used campaign money could come as early as today.

At a hearing almost two weeks ago, Circuit Judge Casey Manning indicated he would decide the closely-watched legal matter in the near future.

At issue is whether to grant Harrell at least temporary immunity from criminal investigations by the Attorney General in matters involving alleged violations of the state ethics law.

Manning could order Wilson to stop using the state grand jury and refer the matter to the 10-member House Ethics Committee, which is made up of Harrell's colleagues in the 124-member House.

Or the judge could give the Attorney General and the state grand jury the okay to continue investigating Harrell. Both Wilson and SLED Chief Mark Keel want the investigation.

No matter which way Manning rules, his decision is almost certain to be appealed to the State Supreme Court.

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