"Bulldog" federal prosecutor Mark Moore retiring to private sect - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

"Bulldog" federal prosecutor Mark Moore retiring to private sector

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One of South Carolina's most hard-nosed, aggressive prosecutors is retiring to the private sector after a storied 24-year career. Assistant US Attorney Mark Moore is moving into private practice.

Throughout his career, he's sent some of the state's most dangerous drug dealers and public officials to prison.

Moore described his career as merely just doing justice.

"I took no satisfaction in putting away a public official who had chosen to violate the public trust," said Moore. "You're not happy about the fact that you had to do that."

Moore was known as one of the toughest government prosecutors in the state. Defense attorneys knew facing Moore wouldn't be easy, with many of them describing him as a "bulldog."

"I take that as a compliment," said Moore. "I think the job of a prosecutor is to be tough, but fair. I think Justice Jackson said once years ago, 'The job of a prosecutor is to aggressively prosecute'  The prosecutor's at liberty to strike hard blows, but always never to strike foul blows."

Moore's handled every type of federal prosecution during his time in the US Attorneys office. From drug cases, to money laundering, to white collar criminals to taking down some of the state's most corrupt public officials.

In 2007, Moore helped prosecute state treasurer Thomas Ravenel on a drug charge. Ravenel resigned, then spent 10 months in federal prison.

In 2010, Moore led the prosecution of Lee County Sheriff EJ Melvin. Melvin is serving a 17-year prison sentence on convictions of taking kickbacks, distributing drugs, shaking down drug dealers for cash. and lying to the FBI.

That same year, Moore prosecuted Columbia City Councilman EW Cromartie on tax evasion charges. Cromartie resigned from office, then spent 11 months in federal prison.

Then in January, Moore announced indictments against former SC State University Chairman Jonathan Pinson, former University Trustee Lance Wright, and multiple other co-defendants. The group is charged in connection to a racketeering scheme connected to SC State University and to a Columbia housing development. Four of the six charged in the case have pleaded guilty. Pinson and his business partner, Eric Robinson, pleaded not guilty.

There is a positive to the negative Moore has seen in some of the cases he's prosecuted.

"Almost without exception, when a corrupt public official is indicted and is sent to prison, his or her replacement is an honest person and that is something that is gratifying about public corruption work," said Moore. "You truly make a difference in lives of the people you serve."

Moore says it was a tough decision to leave the US Attorney's office, and says he's walking away with a reputation he's proud of.

"Judge Matthew Perry, who is a legend in the bar of this state, had his own sort of corollary to that which is he said, 'The job of a prosecutor is to fight them hard, but to always fight them fair.' I tried to do that and I hope that is the legacy that I have left -- that I fought them hard, but I always fought them fair."

Moore will start his new job next month.

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