COLUMBIA - South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson may not present evidence in secret in the case against House Speaker Bobby Harrell because the prosecutor failed to present the documents as part of the original hearing, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
Wilson had wanted the court to review documents being considered by a state grand jury - but not in open court and without Harrell or his attorneys having the benefit of seeing the evidence against him. Wilson has appealed the decision of a Circuit Court judge who said the attorney general could not investigate a member of the House for ethics-related allegations before the case is examined by a House ethics panel.
The Supreme Court's five justices said evidence that isn't presented in Circuit Court cannot be considered on appeal.
Wilson argued that the documents he wanted the justices to consider behind closed doors had been mentioned at trial and were therefore a part of the court record. Submitting the contents of the file in the original case "could undermine the grand jury's work," he argued in court papers.
Harrell, R-Charleston, has been accused of using his campaign funds for personal use and abusing his position to benefit his company, among other allegations. Wilson had referred the case to a state grand jury earlier this year after state police completed a 10-month criminal investigation.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the case on June 24.
Reach Jeremy Borden at 708-5837