Crime & Courts

State hits suspended SC Solicitor Johnson with new corruption charges

Dan Johnson
Dan Johnson The State

Two days after being indicted by a federal grand jury, suspended solicitor Dan Johnson was hit with new corruption charges — this time by the state grand jury.

As in the federal indictments, Johnson’s top aide, Nicole Holland, also was charged. Holland was one of the key people entrusted with managing the millions of dollars that flowed through the prosecutor’s office each year.

Johnson was indicted on state charges of embezzlement and misconduct in office; Holland was charged with embezzlement.

Johnson was suspended from his post Wednesday by Gov. Henry McMaster.

According to the indictments, announced by State Attorney General Alan Wilson:

Johnson committed misconduct in office by using state drug forfeiture money to improperly pay for personal expenses

Johnson and Holland embezzled public money from March through May 2017, paying personal expenses with their office-provided Bank of America credit cards.

The indictment says, as solicitor, Johnson ultimately was responsible “for all financial decisions and transactions made by that office.”

Misconduct in office, a common-law misdemeanor, carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

Embezzlement of public money is a felony, carrying a penalty of up five years in prison. Anyone convicted of the charge also is barred from ever holding a public office, Wilson’s office said..

Senior Assistant Attorney General Josh Underwood and Assistant Attorney General LaRone Washington will prosecute the charges against Johnson and Holland.

Wilson’s office usually doesn’t announce court hearings, preferring instead to keep hearings unpublicized and issue news releases after defendants have appeared in court. So it is unknown when any bond hearing — usually the next step in a criminal proceeding — will be held.