Crime & Courts

Former SC prosecutor Dan Johnson reports to federal prison, starts a blog

Federal prosecutors talk Dan Johnson sentencing and remorseful reaction

Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Lewis and Assistant U.S. Attorney Winston Holliday discuss Dan Johnson's sentencing.
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Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Lewis and Assistant U.S. Attorney Winston Holliday discuss Dan Johnson's sentencing.

Before pleading guilty earlier this year to public corruption charges, former 5th Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson favored white dress shirts and snappy repp ties.

Now Johnson is wearing a prison jump suit at Butner Medium Security federal prison in North Carolina.

At Butner, Johnson is No. 33778-171, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmate locator.

For release date, the prison site says, “UNKNOWN.”

Butner, a complex that houses several different federal prisons, is about 45 miles northwest of Raleigh. One of its better-known inmates is Bernie Madoff, the master New York City conman who used a Ponzi scheme to fleece numerous trusting victims out of hundreds of millions.

Last month, U.S. Judge Cameron McGowan Curry sentenced Johnson, 48, to a year and a day in federal prison for charges that included theft of federal public money by using his office credit card.

If Johnson doesn’t have any disciplinary citations, he could be eligible for early release in about 10 months.

Johnson already has started a blog for his friends called, “My redshirt year in prison ... an attempt to chronicle my mental, physical and spiritual growth as my family and I navigate one year in federal prison.”

“Redshirt” is an athletic term for an athlete who sits out of games for a year. Johnson is a former standout track and football star at The Citadel.

Johnson has launched his new blogging effort at WordPress. It begins with a quote from the English writer, Oscar Wilde — “Be yourself — everyone else is already taken.”

From 2009 through last summer, Johnson was one of the most powerful prosecutors in South Carolina.

One of 16 elected regional top prosecutors, Johnson oversaw an office of some 140 people, a budget of more than $8 million and made decisions on which crimes in Richland and Kershaw counties got prosecuted and which ones didn’t.

Johnson had pleaded guilty last February to a long-running scheme to siphon off federal taxpayer money and to use it for his own personal expenses.

Knowledge of Johnson’s misdeeds was made possible by a Columbia good government foundation, Public Access to Public Records. It made a sweeping Freedom of Information request seeking more than seven years of Johnson’s office spending records, including his credit card use. Tens of thousands of records were unearthed.

Johnson’s spending records were then examined by reporters from The State and The Post & Courier and resulted in numerous stories about his questionable spending and travels.

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