Suspended Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson found himself on the opposite side of a Richland County Courtroom on Thursday.
Instead of prosecuting a case, the former chief prosecutor for Richland and Kershaw counties received a $25,000 bond on charges of Misconduct in Office and Embezzlement of Public Funds. Circuit Judge Clifton Newman set the personal recognizance bond.
The bond hearing was in the courtroom literally–not a word used facetiously here–next door to the solicitor’s office.
Johnson, a Democrat, is accused of using state drug forfeiture money for personal expenses.
A co-defendant Nicole Holland, is charged with embezzlement of public funds in a related case during her time as Johnson’s communications director. Her bond was set at $25,000 as well.
Johnson and Holland are due in federal court next week on more than two-dozen related charges. The state Supreme Court suspended Johnson’s law license earlier this week.
Gov. Henry McMaster suspended Johnson last week after a federal grand jury indicted him on charges related to misspending public money for money spent on trips to places with questionable connections to his office, such as the Galapagos Islands and Europe.
The federal indictments notes, on at least one occasion, Johnson’s public credit card was used to pay for hotel rooms in two different cities on the same night. Both Johnson and Holland are accused of misusing more than $10,000 since 2016.
Johnson did not speak to reporters after Thursday’s hearing. He has said he repaid expenses that were flagged by an audit, but insists the money was spent legally.