A convicted former South Carolina legislator has been granted a reprieve from prison as he appeals the ruling against him.
State Rep. Jim Harrison was scheduled to report to prison last week, but a state circuit judge agreed Thursday to grant an appeal bond while the Republican’s case goes to a higher court.
Harrison was convicted in October on perjury and misconduct charges after a jury sided with prosecutors who accused him of using a job at a consulting firm to get paid by companies which benefitted from legislation he helped pass or kill in the House. Harrison — who had been working as South Carolina’s code commissioner before his indictment last year — became the first politician found guilty by a jury from a four-year corruption probe at the Statehouse. Four others had previously avoided prison as part of guilty pleas. One other former legislator Tracy Edge is still awaiting trial.
The perjury charge stems from what he told the State Grand Jury which eventually indicted him. According to the indictment, Harrison told the panel last year he was paid by Richard Quinn & Associates for his work on other political campaigns. But it noted Harrison gave a much different description 18 years earlier, when he described himself as the firm’s “Chief Operating Officer” who “manages the day-to-day operations.”
Harrison was scheduled to begin his 18-month prison sentence Friday morning before Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen granted the $250,000 bond. Harrison’s team has not yet filed its legal arguments for an appeal, but Mullen deemed Harrison unlikely to flee the state and noted he suffered a stroke during his October trial.