Mark Peper

Charleston attorney Mark Peper.

Provided/CCSD 

Charleston lawyer Mark Peper was arrested early Monday on charges of driving under the influence and possession of cocaine.

The 38-year-old defense attorney was pulled over on Savannah Highway shortly before 2 a.m., according to Maj. Eric Watson of the Charleston County Sheriff's Department. He also was charged with having an open container of alcohol.

Peper most recently made news as one of the attorneys for Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor, a key suspect in the disappearance seven years ago of New York teen Brittanee Drexel from Myrtle Beach.

Through Peper and co-attorney David Aylor, Taylor issued a statement in August denying any involvement in the Drexel case. He said he was being unjustly accused by federal investigators.

After years of no firm leads on what happened to the missing 17-year-old, an FBI agent testified in federal court in August that a man serving a 25-year sentence in an unrelated manslaughter case gave a jailhouse confession naming Taylor and Taylor’s father, Shaun Taylor, as participating in her rape and shooting death.

No charges have have been filed in that case.

Peper also served as one of the attorneys for Bobby Harrell in 2014 after the S.C. House speaker was forced out of office when he pleaded guilty to ethics charges involving misuse of campaign funds and falsifying expenses. Peper represented Harrell in a dispute with the House Ethics Committee on whether he would have to repay to the state more than $100,000 in campaign funds spent on attorneys. As part of his sentence to three years of probation on the ethics charges, Harrell agreed to cooperate with authorities in an ongoing investigation of possible improper conduct by state legislators.

Aylor said Monday that Peper contacted him about providing representation on the DUI charges. But, Aylor said, he is out of the country and has no comment at this time.

Peper was released on $4,520 bond. A court hearing is set for Feb. 15.

He founded The Peper Law Firm in 2005 shortly after being admitted to the South Carolina Bar. He received his law degree in 2004 from The University of South Carolina School of Law. He is the son of Warren Peper, who writes a weekly column for The Post and Courier.

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Reach Doug Pardue at 843-937-5558.

Doug Pardue is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter and a member of The Post and Courier's projects team. Before joining this newspaper, he served as investigations editor at USA Today, The Tampa Tribune and The State (Columbia, SC)

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