The tables were turned in a Richland County courtroom Thursday when suspended state solicitor Dan Johnson made an appearance before a judge. Johnson is facing charges for misconduct in office and embezzlement of public funds.
Dan Johnson served as the solicitor for the Fifth Judicial Circuit for 7 years. In his position, he oversaw hundreds of cases and kick started multiple community programs.
During Johnson’s bond hearing, his special pro bono attorney presented a brief overview of Johnson’s accomplishments to Judge Clifton Newman.
“In the course of his career has helped 10s of thousands of people with his programs. he’s active in the church in his community and active coaching all levels of sports,” said John Rakowsky, a West Columbia attorney.
Rakowsky added that Johnson was also instrumental in creating a veterans court and homeless court for his circuit. But on Thursday Johnson was the one in front of a judge.
Josh Underwood, a representative for the Attorney General’s Office, went over Johnson’s charges. “For embezzlement of funds, where funds from the state drug forfeiture account were used to pay an office issued credit card that Mr. Johnson used for personal travel expenses unassociated with any official business for the solicitor’s office.”
The judge issued Johnson a $25,000 personal recognizance bond. Shortly after the hearing switched to part 2.
Nicole Holland, an assistant for Johnson, is also being charged with embezzlement of public funds.
“This is an ongoing investigation.. this involves state forfeiture fund paid for personal expenses. that were charged to a solicitor’s office credit cards.. that were no way related to her position in the solicitor’s office,” added Underwood.
Both Johnson and Holland were released on $25,000 PR bonds. Johnson has to also surrender his passport and cannot travel out of the state.
An audit showed Johnson misused more than $20,000, some of which he has already paid back.
Johnson is expected in court again Tuesday.