A judge on Thursday sentenced a former South Carolina State University staff attorney to six months probation after the attorney admitted knowing about a kickback scheme at the school.
Former SC State general counsel Edwin Givens, 51, of Columbia had earlier pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony. Federal prosecutors said Givens cooperated with them after they began investigating the actions of then Board of Trustees chair Jonathan Pinson. Prosecutors have previously said Pinson arranged for a Greenville business to receive a contract for a homecoming concert at the school in exchange for a share of the profits. The business We Entertainment was run by Pinson’s business partner Eric Robinson.
In exchange, prosecutors say Pinson and Givens were to receive $2,000 and 50 percent of the concert’s profits. However, investigators have previously said Givens only received $500, which he donated to the school’s foundation even before he knew the contract was being investigated.
Givens testified against Pinson in the ex-trustee’s trial this summer. A jury found Pinson guilty on 29 public corruption counts in July. The jury found Robinson not guilty.
Prosecutors said Givens had actual knowledge of the commission of a federal felony offense involving the solicitation, receipt and payment of kickbacks by others involved with the concert. The U.S. Attorney’s Office previously said it linked Givens to the scheme through wiretapped phone calls with Pinson. Investigators say Givens did not tell law enforcement about the plan and even took steps to conceal the information from federal law enforcement agents investigating the scheme until an FBI interview in November 2011.
Givens’ law license was suspended after he pleaded guilty in May.