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Former SC State Trustee, Facing Federal Kickback Charges, Wants Details About Informants

shutterstock_86633788Pinson Faces Federal Kickback Charges, Pleads Not Guilty, and Wants Information About Informants

The former South Carolina State University board chair, who faces federal kickback charges in South Carolina, filed for information about the people who informed on him.

Jonathan Pinson, the former trustee, was arraigned last month for using his influence as a member of the board of trustees at SC State to pressure business favors out of clients and colleagues. He received two felony counts of interference with commerce by threat of violence. According to prosecutors, between 2009 and 2011, Pinson, along with “close personal friend” Eric Robinson, accepted items of value in exchange for using his official position to help those who bribed him. This is a violation of the Hobbs Act, which prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce. The statute is frequently cited in cases involving public corruption, such as this case.

The indictment stemmed from charges related to a proposed land deal Pinson arranged on behalf of SC State, called the “Sportsman’s Retreat.”

Prior to the allegations, Pinson left his position on the board of trustees at SC State in December, citing family and personal obligations. He was the chair of the board from 2005 until February 2012, when he stepped down but retained a position on the board.

Despite Federal Kickback Charges, Pinson Filed Papers to See Evidence Against Him

In documents filed with the court last week, Pinson asked the judge to order federal prosecutors to disclose the names of any confidential informants they want to call as witnesses. He also wanted to see any evidence against him, including statements from his co-defendants, surveillance footage, and other recordings.

Co-defendant Eric Robinson, a businessman who identified as a “close personal friend” of Pinson’s, was also indicted on federal kickback charges for his alleged role in the plot. Both he and Pinson pleaded not guilty to the charges, and through their lawyers have promised to fight the federal government in court.

Former police chief Michael Bartley has pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy.

Federal Criminal Charges and Kickback Defense in South Carolina

Kickbacks refer to a form of negotiated bribery in which one returns part of the purchase price of an item to a buyer or buyer’s representative with the intent of inducing a purchase or improperly influencing purchases in the future.

Under federal law kickbacks involving government officials or public funds provided by the government are illegal.

Not all kickbacks are considered illegal. If a kickback does not specifically violate the federal or state law, the kickback may be considered normal, legal and tax deductible. Tax deductibility is prohibited by an official, employee of the federal government or an official or employee of a foreign government.

If you or your company has been accused of kickbacks, a South Carolina federal criminal defense attorney at the Strom Law Firm, LLC can help. With long standing experience with both state and federal cases, we know what it takes to aggressively defend you. Call a South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney at the Strom Law Firm today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.



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