Crime & Courts

Strom Thurmond Jr. cites potential conflicts in asking AG to handle Corley case

S.C. Rep. Chris Corley posts bond on domestic violence and gun charges

Corley is charged with pointing and presenting a firearm and first degree domestic violence in a Monday night incident with his wife.
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Corley is charged with pointing and presenting a firearm and first degree domestic violence in a Monday night incident with his wife.

Aiken County prosecutor Strom Thurmond Jr.’s reason for relinquishing the domestic violence case against state Rep. Chris Corley was to avoid possible conflicts of interest.

In a Tuesday letter to Chief Deputy Attorney General Robert Bolchoz, Thurmond, 2nd Circuit solicitor, asked Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office to take the case “due to a conflict, or at least the potential of one with this office.”

In an email to The State newspaper, Thurmond elaborated. He said he knew Corley from working with the Aiken County legislative delegation over the years, particularly concerning budgetary and legislative issues affecting his office.

Corley, an attorney, was an intern in Thurmond’s office years ago, as was Corley’s brother Kevin, who is a well-known attorney in Aiken and is representing the lawmaker, Thurmond said.

Corley, 36, was indicted Wednesday by Wilson’s office on charges of domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature and pointing and presenting a firearm. Aiken deputies say the lawmaker beat his wife, pointed a gun at her and threatened her, all in the presence of their children. Shortly after the grand jury’s decision, House Speaker Jay Lucas suspended Corley from the House of Representatives.

In another likely conflict, Corley’s wife is related to an office employee, the solicitor wrote.

“While some of these relationships may seem inconsequential, collectively, they create at least the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Thurmond wrote. “Given the seriousness of the allegations and the significant public interest in this matter, it is important that the public have complete confidence in the outcome, whatever it may be.”

Because Aiken is small, it’s not uncommon to ask the attorney general or a solicitor from another circuit to prosecute cases for the Second Circuit when a conflict or the potential for one exists, Thurmond said.

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