COLUMBIA — For the second time in less than a year, former state Rep. Thad Viers has been indicted by an Horry County grand jury in a case authorities say comes from the Myrtle Beach Republican’s failed relationship.
Defense attorney Dylan Goff said Thursday that his client faces charges of first-degree burglary and petit larceny.
Authorities say the charges are part of the same case that led to Viers’ arrest in January 2012. According to police, the 34-year-old called, texted, emailed and showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s home months after they broke up and didn’t stop after police contacted him.
Viers initially said he wouldn’t resign his state House seat after that arrest, calling the accusations “a politically motivated matter over a few love letters.” After his arrest, Viers said he and the woman had dated for four years and that she had turned down his marriage proposal a month earlier.
But the woman told police she repeatedly asked the lawmaker to stop contacting her, saying she was reluctant to press charges because she didn’t want to hurt Viers’ political career. Ultimately, the woman presented police with a three-ring binder detailing the calls, emails and texts. In December 2011, a detective asked Viers to stop calling the woman, but he didn’t, according to a police report.
After his arrest, Viers quickly abandoned a bid for South Carolina’s new 7th Congressional District. He quit the Legislature a day before his March indictment on stalking and harassment charges, saying he needed to focus on his defense.
The state Supreme Court suspended Viers’ law license in April.
The new charges came nearly four years after Viers, first elected to the Legislature in 2002, pleaded no contest to threatening to beat and sexually assault a man dating his estranged wife. He paid a $500 fine for unlawful communication.
It wasn’t clear when Viers was expected to appear in court. Goff says his client is innocent.
“My client maintains his absolute innocence as to these charges and the stalking and harassment,” Goff said.
Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP
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