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      Attorney wants Harrell ethics hearings public

      By MEG KINNARDAssociated Press

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A media attorney wants the public to be allowed to attend hearings on ethics allegations against South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell.

      The State Grand Jury is mulling allegations filed by the South Carolina Policy Council that Harrell used his office to boost his finances and appointed his brother to a judicial screening committee.

      Matters are presented to the Grand Jury in secret. But attorney Jay Bender says in a motion filed Thursday that proceedings related to the powerful Charleston Republican should be open so the public knows the case is being handled appropriately.

      The clerk of the State Grand Jury confirmed in an email to The Associated Press that a public hearing would be held Friday before Circuit Judge Bobby Hood but would not give specifics.

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      Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

      Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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