Politics & Government

Bond hearing set for indicted SC lawmaker

The S.C. legislator indicted last week on charges he misused his public office and improperly accepted millions in payments from interest groups will appear in bond court on Thursday.

Suspended Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Berkeley, faces a 30-count indictment in a special prosecutor probe into corruption in the State House. He will appear in the Richland County Courthouse at 11 a.m. Thursday for a formal bond hearing.

Merrill is a former Republican majority leader in the S.C. House of Representatives and prominent GOP leader. His indictment follows a lengthy and often contentious investigation by Solicitor David Pascoe, who reiterated in announcing the hearing that Merrill is “presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Merrill is accused of illegally using his office to pocket at least $1.3 million, either directly or through his business, Geechie Communications.

He also failed to disclose receiving payments of more $673,000 from trade, advocacy and political groups in violation of state ethics law, according to the indictments.

Merrill was suspended form his House seat by Speaker Jay Lucas after his indictment on Dec. 14.

Related stories from The State in Columbia SC