Jonathan Pinson files appeal, wants new trial or acquittal

Jonathan Pinson, at far right, wants an acquittal or a new trial on his public corruption charges.
Jonathan Pinson, at far right, wants an acquittal or a new trial on his public corruption charges.

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Citing "insufficient" evidence was used against him by federal prosecutors, former South Carolina State University board chairman Jonathan Pinson has filed an appeal against his public corruption conviction.

The appeal, filed on July 17, Pinson's defense team is asking the court for a full acquittal or a brand new trial.

A jury delivered a guilty verdict on 29 of 45 counts, which covered racketeering and conspiracy charges, against Pinson back on July 3.

The jury considered evidence that Pinson was engaged in four different schemes. One scheme revolved around the 2011 homecoming concert at SCSU and Pinson's efforts to steer the concert promotion contract to his close friend and former SCSU roommate, Eric Robinson, in exchange for a kickback.

Other schemes included Pinson's theft of government funds earmarked for the installation of a diaper plant in Marion County. Evidence showed that proceeds from the grant, intended to create jobs in rural Marion County, were instead pocketed by Pinson and his associates, Lance Wright, Tony Williams, and Phil Mims, each of whom has pled guilty to charges related to the fraud, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Pinson was also convicted of theft of government funds received from a $10 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant (commonly known as stimulus money) intended for the development known as the Village at Rivers Edge (VRE).

In the final scheme, the government argued, Pinson used his position as Chairman of the Board of SCSU to influence officials at SCSU to purchase land known as "Sportsman's Retreat." The seller of the property, Richard Zahn, Pinson's business partner, testified that he agreed to pay a kickback to Pinson in the form of a new Porsche Cayenne, an SUV valued at approximately $90,000.

Pinson now awaits his sentencing hearing, which could take up to 90 days to happen.

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