Mayor Benjamin not commenting about strip club testimony - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Mayor Benjamin not commenting about strip club testimony until Pinson trial ends

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A spokesman for Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said Thursday the mayor will not comment about recent testimony brought up in a federal corruption trial that links the mayor and former SC State officials with strippers during a business trip in 2010.

On Wednesday, a former SC State University Vice President testified that Benjamin, Jonathan Pinson, Orlando businessman Richard Zahn and other SC State officials traveled to Orlando where they went to a strip club, then brought two women back to their hotel room in December 2010. 

Former SC State University chair Jonathan Pinson is currently on trail and faces several corruption charges for allegedly using his influence for his own benefit.

Federal prosecutors have linked Pinson and Benjamin, saying they were former business partners.

"Mayor Benjamin is being prayerful and patient," Mayor Spokesman Michael Wukela said in a statement. "As a potential witness in this trial, he wants to respect the judicial process and allow it to run its course. He will not comment on any of the claims or allegations raised until the conclusion of this trial. At that time he will engage both the public and the media."

WIS was trying to reach Benjamin since the testimony Wednesday but those close to Benjamin said they did not know where he was. 

Late Thursday afternoon, the City of Columbia sent a press release saying Benjamin was at the Medal of Honor Ceremony in Washington D.C.

Thursday marked day four of Pinson's trial along with co-defendant Eric Robinson.

Both men are facing multiple charges in connection with business deals in Orangeburg County, Marion County and Columbia.

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