COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Latest on South Carolina legislators suspended as they face misconduct charges (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

A former South Carolina House majority leader has submitted his resignation ahead of a scheduled court appearance on corruption charges.

South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas’ office confirmed late Thursday that State Rep. Jim Merrill tendered his resignation effective Friday.

Solicitor David Pascoe has announced a hearing in the case against the Charleston lawmaker for Friday morning in Columbia. He didn’t elaborate.

Merrill has been suspended from office since a grand jury indicted him in December on two counts of misconduct in office and 28 counts of ethics violations. He is accused of illegally profiting from his position.

Merrill has adamantly denied doing anything illegal. The 50-year-old Republican was first elected to the House in 2000.

He is among three legislators suspended by Pascoe’s probe into potential Statehouse corruption.

Merrill declined comment when contacted late Thursday by The Associated Press.


2 p.m.

The South Carolina Supreme Court has declined to resolve questions over whether Gov. Henry McMaster can temporarily fill the seats of suspended legislators.

Two lawsuits filed earlier this year argued the Republican governor not only can, but must, appoint temporary replacements for Rep. Jim Merrill of Charleston and Sen. John Courson of Columbia. They are among three legislators currently suspended amid accusations of corruption.

But the state’s high court declined last week to directly take the issue. The justices also denied requests to combine the two lawsuits. They gave no explanation.

Attorney James Davis said Thursday he’s frustrated. He believes the high court should weigh in on an issue that “strikes to the core of the most democratic of principles,” the right of representation.

A hearing in Merrill’s case is set for Friday.


Noon

A hearing is set for one of two former South Carolina House majority leaders accused of corruption.

Prosecutor David Pascoe announced Thursday the case against Charleston Rep. Jim Merrill will be back in court Friday in Columbia. Pascoe said in the release he would give no other details.

Merrill’s attorney would not answer questions.

Merrill has been suspended from office since his December indictment on two counts of misconduct in office and 28 counts of ethics violations. He is accused of illegally profiting from his position.

Merrill has adamantly denied doing anything illegal. The 50-year-old Republican was first elected to the House in 2000.

He is among three legislators suspended by Pascoe’s probe into potential Statehouse corruption. Former Majority Leader Rick Quinn of Lexington was indicted in May.