COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s Supreme Court has suspended the law license of a prosecutor accused of embezzling money seized from drug defendants to pay for personal trips to Europe and the Galapagos Islands.
The court issued that order Monday for 5th Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson, whose jurisdiction includes Richland and Kershaw counties, along with the state’s capital city of Columbia.
Johnson was suspended from office last week following his indictment on more than two dozen federal charges including wire fraud and theft of government funds. His communications director, Nicole Holland, faces the same 26 charges.
State and federal authorities have been investigating the travel and spending habits of Johnson, who logged more than 70 days of travel over a period of less than two years. Trips to locations including Amsterdam, Colombia and the Galapagos Islands were reflected in credit card bills and receipts released by a nonprofit that obtained them through open-records laws.
The money, prosecutors said, was taken from state and federal accounts holding assets forfeited by defendants in illegal drug cases.
Johnson recently lost a primary bid for a third term and hasn’t responded to messages about charges against him. Previously, he has declined to answer specific questions about his travels but has said he didn’t intend for public money to be used for personal expenses.
Johnson has also been indicted on state charges of embezzlement and misconduct in office. He and Holland, who also faces state embezzlement charges, are set to appear in court on those charges later this week.
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