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SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell says grand jury has no authority to investigate civil charges

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina — South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell says the state grand jury has no authority to investigate civil charges against him.

Harrell said in papers filed Monday with the Supreme Court that Attorney General Alan Wilson was wrong to empanel a jury.

Wilson is appealing a ruling that courts cannot consider charges against a lawmaker until a legislative ethics panel has reviewed it. A June 24 hearing is scheduled.

The South Carolina Policy Council says Harrell used his influence to get a permit for his pharmaceutical business and improperly appointed his brother to a judicial screening committee.

Earlier this month, the court said Wilson wouldn't be allowed to present sealed evidence against Harrell. Justices said Wilson never presented the documents at an original hearing, so he can't use them on appeal.

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