A hearing on House Speaker Bobby Harrell's request to have Attorney General Alan Wilson removed as prosecutor in his grand jury investigation is expected to take place later this week in Columbia.
The time and place of the proceeding has not been formally released by court officials, but an attorney for the S.C. Press Association is expected to pursue efforts Tuesday to ensure the hearing be held in open court and with media access.
Jay Bender, who represents newspapers in the state, contends the dispute - between Harrell's legal team and Wilson's office over conduct - is separate from the actual grand jury investigation that Wilson is leading and focusing on Harrell, R-Charleston.
Harrell's lawyers reportedly want Wilson replaced and are seeking a hearing with Judge Robert Hood of Columbia.
A spokesman for the state Grand Jury office declined to comment Monday, as did Charleston attorney Bart Daniel, who is part of Harrell's defense team.
The probe into Harrell's conduct dates back almost a year, including when S.C. Policy Council President Ashley Landess filed a complaint raising the issue of whether Harrell used his campaign account and legislative office for personal gain.
Landess alleged, among other things, that Harrell may have used his office to benefit a family business and used campaign money for personal use.
In January, Wilson's office announced that the probe had been referred to a state grand jury.
Harrell has called the complaint "a baseless attack that is driven by personal and political vendetta." He has said he cooperated with state investigators during the time.
Other allegations stem from questions raised in a 2012 Post and Courier report about Harrell's campaign account.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.
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