Palmetto Sunrise: The next chapter in the Harrell case

State Attorney General Alan Wilson (left) and House Speaker Bobby Harrell.

In an interview late (very late) at Attorney General Alan Wilson's office, the attorney general criticized a decision made Monday by a circuit court judge but said that it would not impede the case against House Speaker Bobby Harrell.

Wilson told the P&C that there are other avenues open to him to pursue the case. This despite the fact that a Richland County Circuit Court judge said that a grand jury cannot investigate ethics-related allegations against him.

"Everything is on the table. This case is not over, this investigation is not over and we have other avenues," he said. "There are lot of avenues that people don't know about that were considering."

He also agreed that the judge's ruling set a bad precedent.

"Basically a judge today said that members of the General Assembly have criminal immunity for acts of public corruption," he said.

"At the end of the day the people of South Carolina are going to be ticked off. This is just a battle in a protracted war for justice. I'm not disheartened. Frankly I feel very good about long term prospects of this office being able to do its job under the Constitution."

Harrell said in a statement that Wilson continues to play politics.

"The Constitution, state law, court rulings and even Attorney General Wilson's own official positions and precedents all reinforce this ruling, " Harrell said. Mr. Wilson even acknowledged the fact that his office did not have the constitutional or legal authority to act as it did, yet he did it anyway.

"It's a disappointing fact that had this matter been placed in the hands of an impartial prosecutor free of political motivations from the start, this complaint would have been thoroughly investigated, properly dismissed and rightfully exposed as baseless political mudslinging long ago.

"This entire process - both the mishandling of this matter and the allegations made - reeks of politics."

The key question today: will the House Ethics Committee take this matter up?