Yesterday, the state Supreme Court gave Attorney General Alan Wilson the official OK to keep doing what he’s doing:
S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, SLED and the State Grand Jury can continue investigating alleged ethics and other possible criminal violations against S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell while Wilson’s appeal of a lower court order is pending, the Supreme Court said in an order issued Thursday.
In his May 12 ruling on the matter, Circuit Judge Casey Manning ordered Wilson and SLED to stop investigating Harrell and turn the matter over to the House Ethics Committee for its consideration.
Manning also ordered Wilson to disband the State Grand Jury that is investigating Harrell. But Wilson had continued to investigate even after Manning’s ruling, saying the ruling infringed on his role as the state’s top prosecutor.
The Supreme Court’s order Thursday keeps the grand jury intact and allows it to keep investigating Harrell pending a June 24 hearing on whether Wilson’s entire investigation should be turned over to the House Ethics Committee….
While not definitively affirming the rule of law (that will only happen when Manning’s ruling is overturned), this restores some semblance of good sense and order to the situation.
I found it ironic that Harrell put out a statement saying in part, “The attorney general’s conduct has made it clear that political motivations are driving his actions.” In a backhanded way, Bobby Harrell is doing all he can to get Alan Wilson re-elected, by acting so outrageously (the attempt to have the AG taken off the case secretly really takes the cake) and offering him these golden opportunities to look good.
That said, Mr. Wilson deserves full credit for rising to the occasion, doing the right thing at each step along the way.
On a related matter — what do y’all think about the question John Monk raised this morning, whether Jean Toal and Costa Pleicones should recuse themselves in the matter of Harrell, since the speaker backed the former for re-election, and opposed the latter?
I’m inclined to say no — that argument could conceivably be taken to the conclusion that no state judge should ever decide a matter regarding a legislator, since they elect the judges — but I’m open to a good argument…