Kinard trial July 12; attorney may seek to move ex-official’s case out of Bamberg

Kinard trial July 12; attorney may seek to move ex-official’s case out of Bamberg
Then-Chairman Trent Kinard leads the Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, meeting of Bamberg County Council. (Source: Larry Hardy, T&D)

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (The T&D) - A trial date for former Bamberg County Councilman Kerry Trent Kinard is set for July 12.

Kinard is facing charges in Bamberg County: first-degree assault and battery, second-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor under age 16, committing or attempting to commit a lewd act upon a child under age 16, and two counts each of criminal solicitation of a minor and dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18 years of age.

In Jasper County, he’s facing charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18, and committing lewd acts upon a child under 16.

Circuit Judge Clifton Newman set the trial date for the Bamberg County charges at the request of Kinard’s attorney, Bakari Sellers, who asked the court for a speedy trial.

A virtual hearing on the matter took place on Monday.

Sellers said he’s likely to file a motion for a change of venue due to concerns about selecting an impartial jury in Bamberg County because of Kinard’s longtime status as an elected official.

Sellers also told the court that Kinard went “through many periods of public discourse and having that back-and-forth feedback, some of which was steeped in animus.”

Sellers cited those concerns as well as Kinard “coming off of a contentious election,” in which he lost, as reasons it may not be possible to find an impartial jury in Bamberg County.

Sellers has not yet filed a formal request to change venue.

Newman said there would likely be an attempt to seat a jury, but if that is unsuccessful, then the change-of-venue request, if Sellers files one, would be considered.

Also during the hearing, Sellers told the court, “It took 143 days to get discovery in this matter.”

Discovery is a legal term that means sharing evidence each side may produce in a trial.

“Waiting five months for discovery when indictments ... and cases have been filed, we believe to be unacceptable,” he said.

SLED arrested Kinard on Sept. 26, 2020.

Newman granted bond on Kinard about a month later, but officers rearrested Kinard after he attempted to purchase a gun by allegedly lying on the purchase application inside of Columbia area business in early December.

On April 1, Kinard pleaded guilty to the lying charge and prosecutors agreed to dismiss the other charge as part of his plea agreement. A judge has not yet sentenced Kinard in the federal case.

Kinard remains at the Clarendon County Detention Center without bond.

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