Ravenel's lawyers ask for probation on coke charge
Attorneys for Thomas Ravenel have asked for probation for the former state treasurer's admitted cocaine use, saying he cooperated fully with the government and "despite his lapse in judgment he is a good man working to restore himself."
In a court filing Monday, Ravenel's legal team said he has been cooperative from the start, and that jail time would do more harm than good for a nonviolent, first-time offender who is seeking professional treatment for the hurdles in his life.
"The quantity involved was modest," court papers said. "In addition, there is a wrinkle that places Ravenel's situation outside of the heartland of typical drug conspiracies. Ravenel was no drug profiteer. By contrast he was, at his own expense, sharing with a limited number of friends in various social settings."
The documents, signed by Charleston attorneys Bart Daniel and Gedney Howe, list the government's advisory sentencing guideline for the crime at 10 to 16 months, before any departures or variances are included. Federal prosecutors have agreed to support a downward departure from the guidelines if Ravenel cooperates fully, which the documents contend he has.
Ravenel in September pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office to one count of conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine. After the scandal broke in June, he resigned his treasurer's post after just a few months on the job.
The court papers describe Ravenel's rise as a construction businessman, education at The Citadel, effectiveness during his brief time as the state's elected Republican treasurer and even his family pedigree.
"Ravenel comes from a strong and distinguished family," the papers said. "Despite his current mistakes, the family has imparted to him good core values and stands willing to assist his recovery. More important than the life he was born into is what he has achieved on his own."
His father is Arthur Ravenel Jr., who served as a state senator, congressman and is a current member of the Charleston County School Board.
In arguing for probation — with appropriate conditions to cover his rehabilitation and other issues — the attorneys say jail time would undermine his progress and recovery, and potentially force him "to spend time around the very type of people with whom he has cut ties."
"Ravenel has shown remarkable mettle in the aftermath of this experience," the documents say, and "in short, this is the beginning of a new chapter in his life."
Ravenel's sentencing date has not been set. It is likely to be in January.
Mount Pleasant deejay Michael L. Miller, who has admitted to supplying Ravenel with the drug, pleaded guilty to conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. A third suspect, Pasquale Pellicoro, a Ravenel friend and one-time local wine expert charged with conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine, is still at large. His last public contact was in September when he said he was in Switzerland.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551 or skropf@postand courier.com.