Richard Quinn indicted on perjury charges in SC Statehouse probe

Richard Quinn Sr. (copy) (copy)
Richard Quinn Sr. (center), one of South Carolina’s most well-connected political strategists, was required to assist prosecutors in an ongoing Statehouse corruption probe under a plea arrangement. Brad Nettles/Staff

More than a year after dodging criminal charges in the sweeping S.C. Statehouse corruption probe, Richard Quinn, one of the South’s top political kingmakers, was again indicted Thursday on 11 counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice.

The indictments accuse Quinn of lying during two appearances before the State Grand Jury a year ago in cases against former state lawmakers Jim Harrison, John Courson and Rick Quinn, his son. Quinn also is accused of lying about his work for S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson.

Courson and Rick Quinn are among four lawmakers to resign from office after guilty pleas in the probe. Harrison was sentenced to 18 months in prison on perjury and misconduct in office charges in October. Harrison is the only person to receive a prison sentence in the investigation. Wilson, who won a third term as the state’s top prosecutor last year, has not been charged.

Quinn, 74, faces up to 55 years in prison if convicted on all the perjury charges and up to 10 years on the obstruction charge, which was handed down based on allegations that his “incomplete and evasive” testimony thwarted the investigation, according to the indictment.

“Quinn repeatedly claimed to suffer from memory problems and health issues that hindered his memory, however, witnesses’ testimony before the grand jury and evidence gathered, contradicts his claim,” the indictment says.

A bond hearing has not been scheduled, according to a news release from 1st Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe, who is overseeing the probe that dates back to 2013.

Previous corruption charges against Quinn, including illegal lobbying and conspiracy, were dropped in 2017 as part of a guilty plea deal with Rick Quinn. Rick Quinn, a former House majority leader, agreed to resign from the Legislature after pleading guilty to misconduct in office.

At the time, Richard Quinn’s political consulting firm, Richard Quinn & Associates, agreed to pay fines and restitution totaling $5,500 for illegal lobbying.

As part of his deal, Richard Quinn, who represented some of South Carolina’s most influential politicians, businesses and state agencies, agreed to testify before a state grand jury.

That testimony landed Quinn in legal trouble again.

Quinn learned about the indictments Thursday from a Post and Courier reporter. He said he was not expecting the new allegations from Pascoe.

“I’m surprised,” Quinn answered, adding that he needed to gather more information about the indictments before commenting further.

His attorney Debbie Barbier said the perjury charges are a rehash of earlier allegations against Quinn that were dropped: “This is a different shade of lipstick on the same pig.”

Quinn’s clients have included S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the late U.S. Sens. Strom Thurmond and John McCain, and the late President Ronald Reagan. RQ&A also represented Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina,…

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