Crime & Courts

SC judge: Release grand jury report on State House corruption to public

Secret grand jury report on State House corruption might be opened

Media attorney Jay Bender argues in South Carolina court in front of Judge Clifton Newman for people’s right to know about secret grand jury report on the State House corruption scandal.
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Media attorney Jay Bender argues in South Carolina court in front of Judge Clifton Newman for people’s right to know about secret grand jury report on the State House corruption scandal.

A S.C. judge Wednesday ordered the release of a long-secret state grand jury report on General Assembly corruption.

“The public has a right to know,” said state Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman after hearing arguments for and against opening the report in a 70-minute hearing at the Richland County Courthouse.

However, the report won’t be made public until at least Friday.

Newman said he would give Matthew Richardson, a lawyer for former Rep. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington, a chance to propose small deletions that Richardson said would protect Quinn’s rights in possible future legal actions.

Newman made his decision after hearing arguments from media lawyer Jay Bender, who represented The State in arguing the public has a right to know what is in the report, and special prosecutor David Pascoe, who used the state grand jury to indict, prosecute and convict state lawmakers on misconduct charges.

The state grand jury wanted the report released to the public. Newman had held an earlier hearing on the issue of public disclosure. He held Wednesday’s hearing to give Richardson a chance to register his concerns.

The grand jury report is said to contain possibly embarrassing disclosures about the way various businesses and public institutions did business with state lawmakers. Those entities include the University of South Carolina, Palmetto Richland hospitals, ATT, SCANA, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, the state Ports Authority and others.

This story will be updated

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