Judge won't toss wiretaps in SC State case

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP/WCIV) - A federal judge won't throw out wiretap evidence against a former South Carolina State University trustee.

U.S. District Judge David Norton on Wednesday also denied a request by Jonathan Pinson's attorneys that a racketeering charge against him be dismissed.

Pinson walked out of federal court with a trial date set by Judge David Norton. His attorney Jim Griffin says they're ready for the jury to listen.{}

"They search for the truth and if the truth comes out, I feel confident my client will be exonerated," said Griffin. {}{}

Griffin argued Pinson's phone was tapped by the FBI for a criminal investigation related to public corruption in the city of Columbia. He argued the FBI improperly listened to university business.

"The judge's rulings speak for themselves," said U.S. Attorney Nancy Wicker.

Pinson is accused of taking kickbacks in exchange for arranging business deals involving S.C. State. That includes trying to get the Orangeburg school to buy land from a Florida developer in exchange for a Porsche SUV as a "thank you" gift for Pinson.

Prosecutors say they heard Pinson discussing a deal with a former campus police chief, who they said also agreed to help promote the property sale in exchange for money and gifts.

Pinson's codefendant Eric Robinson was also in court. Pinson and Robinson are accused of working together to solicit money and favors.

"The allegations are a little bit crazy, I said they've been crazy the entire time.{} It's a witch hunt unfortunately and you guys were in there the evidence. There is no evidence I'm a put it that way," said Robinson's attorney Shaun Kent.

He argued his client should not be tried with Pinson, but the judge threw out that motion too.

"The bulk of the evidence isn't even against us, so I knew we were going to trial, we're to go to trial. We look forward to our day in court and my clients maintained his innocence since day one," said Kent.{}

Norton also refused to hold separate trials for Pinson and another defendant, Greenville businessman Eric Robinson.

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