Through a motion filed in December in the stalking case against a former South Carolina House member, Thad Viers' defense has laid out its plan to defend the five-term lawmaker. The Horry County Grand Jury indicted Viers earlier this month on two new charges of first degree burglary and petit larceny connected to the stalking case involving Viers' ex-girlfriend.
Viers' attorney, Dylan Goff, filed the motion, asking for the charges to be dismissed and asked the court for sanctions against the prosecutor assigned to the case. Goff claims solicitor Kernard Redmond did not timely respond to discovery requests and that Redmond has still not provided the defense all the evidence in the case.
Part of Viers' defense motion included a list of text messages between the victim in the case and a man the defense said she was romantically involved with. The texts show "retribution of a scorned lover," and a "coldly calculated plan to politically and financially ruin an innocent man," according to Goff's filing. Goff claims, the victim only reported Viers to police after "repeated urging" by the man Goff identified as the victim's "new love interest."
That man, according to Goff's filing, is Chris Johnston. Johnston contributed maximum amounts of campaign cash to Andre Bauer's Seventh District Congressional account. Viers' defense believes the victim and Johnston were part of a plan to get Viers out of the race against Bauer by reporting Viers to police. "Indeed, even a cursory review of the text messages presents compelling exculpatory evidence, identifies gross inaccuracies in the alleged victim's statements to police and identifies a vindictive and politically motivated plan to destroy Mr. Viers," the motion states, "The non redacted texts show, at best the retribution of a scorned lover, or at worst a coldly calculated plan to politically and financially ruin an innocent man," Goff wrote in his filing.
"Let me make one thing clear right now. I've had a chance to read through the text messages, especially the ones from the period in question where there are allegations it's politically motivated and whatnot, and, as I stand here, on behalf of the victim, tell you that in no way do I read anything that's been spun by certain Web sites or whoever's been providing them with certain things. I don't see any of that," Fourth Circuit Solicitor Kernard Redmond told the judge during Viers' arraignment last week.
Redmond argued Viers or his defense team leaked discovery evidence to a Columbia-based gossip blog in an attempt to "harass, embarrass, intimidate" the victim in the case. References to the text records and what Redmond called "spin" started showing up on the blog after Redmond's office turned the records over to Goff.
"Let me be clear when I say this: there is such a thing in this state as witness intimidation and it's something I take very seriously and it's something I hope not to have to do, but it gets to a point where somebody is going out of their way to try to intimidate this witness," Redmond said during the arraignment last week in Horry County.
Redmond also told the judge he was awaiting search warrants that could show how the gossip blog got the information. Circuit court judge Ed Cottingham admonished Viers and his defense team; threatening to arrest Viers if he finds out they provided the records to the blog, "Now, you listen to me very carefully. If I find that this conduct continues, I'm going to blame it on you and I'm going to revoke your bond immediately."
Viers is out of jail on a $25,000 bond and ordered to have no further contact with the victim in the case. There is no trial date set in the case.
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