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Former SC State trustee wants judge to drop convictions or give him new trial

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina — A former South Carolina State University trustee has asked a federal judge to drop his convictions on more than two dozen charges, including racketeering.

In court documents filed last week, Jonathan Pinson said that prosecutors failed to prove the allegations against him and that U.S. District Judge David Norton made mistakes at trial.

Pinson's lawyers said their client was convicted July 3 on 29 counts of racketeering, kickbacks, money laundering and other offenses in four schemes but was acquitted on other counts that involved similar evidence.

Pinson faces up to 20 years in prison when he's sentenced later this year.

Authorities say the former board chairman skimmed federal money going to a low-income housing project in Columbia and a diaper factory in Marion County, then filed false paperwork to get more money from the government.

Prosecutors said Pinson used his influence at the Orangeburg school to make money off a homecoming concert and tried to get the college to buy land from a Florida developer.

If the convictions are not dropped, Pinson wants a new trial. He says that jurors were confused.

Prosecutors have not filed a response in court.

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