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      FBI probed SC State as legislative audit unfolded

      By MEG KINNARDAssociated Press

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Weeks after state auditors released a report criticizing management of a South Carolina State University transportation center project funded by millions of federal dollars, the FBI began monitoring the phone calls of a school trustee.

      Federal prosecutors said this week it's those calls that led to the indictment of former board chairman Jonathan Pinson.

      Pinson pleaded not guilty Thursday to taking kickbacks in exchange for trying to get the university to buy land from a Florida businessman. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

      U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles hasn't said the investigations are related but has said more charges will follow. John Crangle of Common Cause says that federal authorities may be hoping that Pinson will give them information about other alleged misdeeds involving the Orangeburg school.

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

      Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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