Wilson wants Supreme Court to dismiss Pascoe complaint

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson

COLUMBIA — Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a filing Tuesday the state Supreme Court should dismiss 1st Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe’s complaint about being removed as special prosecutor.

In court documents, Wilson says it was within his office’s powers to remove Pascoe in an ongoing Statehouse corruption probe.

“This action should be dismissed and the court declared that the attorney general (or his office where the attorney general is firewalled from the matter) has a duty to supervise solicitors in all criminal matters, including a duty to remove a solicitor from a matter assigned to him when the attorney general or office deems it appropriate,” the filing said about Pascoe.

The state legal code “affords the attorney general and his office the unfettered and absolute right to do so,” the documents said.

Wilson last month removed Pascoe as the special prosecutor in the case — months after he’d picked him for the post — citing an unspecified conflict of interest into Statehouse corruption.

Much of their differences played out in a press conference Wilson held last month where he labeled Pascoe as tainted for allegedly leaking public documents to the press. Also for bringing the case to a grand jury without checking in with the attorney general staff.

Pascoe’s earlier filing had a differing view, saying he was fully powered to stay in charge.

“The attorney general’s actions in this matter have left the underlying investigation obstructed,” Pascoe said in his March 30 request, referring to the corruption probe.

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“Solicitor Pascoe is the acting attorney and exercises the statutory and constitutional authority of the Office of the Attorney General, including the power to use the state grand jury,” his filings also said.

Another part of the fight covers an incident in which Pascoe alleges the clerk of court for the state grand jury was ordered by the attorney general’s office not to swear-in Pascoe to use the wide-ranging investigative tool for his probe back on March 24.

Pascoe petitioned the court the next day to intervene in the matter. Wilson, who was recused from the case, later said Pascoe “unlawfully attempted” to use the state grand jury to investigate lawmakers named in a redacted portion of a State Law Enforcement Division report. That report stemmed from the public corruption investigation of former House Speaker Bobby Harrell.