Defense, prosecution each submit closing argument to jurors in P - - Columbia, South Carolina

Defense, prosecution each submit closing argument to jurors in Pinson trial

The difficult task of getting through the jury charge now awaits both Judge David Norton and the jury members.

The judge will have to break down each crime alleged by the government and explain each element prosecutors had to prove. However, that task had to wait as each side presented their closing arguments on Friday in the Jonathan Pinson trial.

Pinson's attorney said their client may have gotten away from what grounded the former South Carolina State board chairman as he worked out deals to make money, but Jim Griffin told jurors that "making money is not a crime" as the two-week trial came to an end.

Griffin's remarks were among one of five separate closing arguments submitted to the jury during more than six hours of courtroom activity.

Pinson, along with co-defendant Eric Robinson, is accused in a federal indictment that includes more than 40 counts of crimes. Among those crimes include racketeering, extortion, mail and wire fraud, and lying to the FBI.

Those crimes are linked to what the government claimed were schemes involving a homecoming concert at SC State. Also linked to those crimes according to the government was a deal to convince the school to purchase $3 million worth of property including Columbia's Village at River's Edge and a Marion County diaper plant from Florida businessman.

Opening the feds' closing argument was Assistant U.S. Attorney J.D. Rowell who said, in all of those matters, Pinson "stuck his hand in the cash drawer over and over" and skimmed money including federal funds off the top for himself. Plus, Rowell pointed out that Pinson agreed to take a Porsche SUV from developer Richard Zahn in the SC State land deal.

Meanwhile, the government said Robinson played a lesser role.

Robinson's attorney, Shaun Kent, delivered the day's shortest but most dramatic performance.

Kent repeatedly mocked the prosecution's money, power, and influence as he waved his jacket. At one point, Kent dropped to his knees in front of the jury box.

Finishing things off for the government was Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Wicker who replayed some of the 118 wiretapped phone calls.

In those calls, Pinson apparently referred to the trustees saying "I don't give a (expletive) about that board."

In another snippet played for the jury, Pinson said "I'll be more powerful than most politicians...I'll buy the next congressional seat" as he detailed the millions he expected to make from his deals.

Deliberations are like to begin on Monday, but it will be remarkable to say the least if the jury renders a quick verdict. With dozens of counts, more than 200 exhibits and all 118 phone calls to go through, the jury has a lot to consider.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.




Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.


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