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Special Prosecutor David Pascoe speaks to Judge Carmen Muller during a December hearing for former Rep. Rick Quinn and and his father, political consultant Richard Quinn, Sr., in Columbia. Brad Nettles/Staff

First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe shook the capital when his Statehouse corruption probe landed more high-profile indictments and laid bare the misdeeds of one of South Carolina's most powerful political machines.

Armed with boxes of evidence seized in a March raid, the special prosecutor took aim at Republican Rep. Rick Quinn and his father, Richard Quinn, a veteran strategist whose clients included some of the state's leading politicians and corporations.

Pascoe exposed how the Quinns used their tentacles throughout state government to do the bidding of their clients while shoveling millions of dollars into the family firm.

Pascoe won indictments against the pair and wrangled criminal conspiracy charges against others in their "family" of political allies, including a trio of current and former lawmakers. Pascoe also secured a guilty plea from Rep. Jim Merrill, a Daniel Island Republican who agreed to cooperate with investigators in exchange for leniency on ethics charges.

The Quinns loudly proclaimed their innocence until a December hearing in which Pascoe netted a pair of pleas that could send Rick Quinn to prison and his father to a date with the state grand jury.

With a career spanning four decades, the elder Quinn could well provide Pascoe with his highest-value insider yet to guide investigators trying to root out legislative misconduct and graft. And that could keep the corruption probe running on all cylinders as it enters its fifth year. 

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Reach Glenn Smith at 843-937-5556. Follow him on Twitter @glennsmith5.