Ex-South Carolina official gets prison time in prostitution sting | TribLIVE.com

Ex-South Carolina official gets prison time in prostitution sting

Associated Press
Richland County Detention Center via AP
John Hardee, a former member of the board that oversees South Carolina highways, will spend seven months in jail by violating his probation by trying to hire a prostitute.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A former member of the board that oversees South Carolina highways will spend seven months in prison for trying to hire a prostitute just hours after he received probation for admitting he tried to derail an FBI investigation by destroying evidence.

John Hardee, 72, was sentenced Wednesday after a psychiatrist hired by his lawyer suggested a mild form of dementia might have led him to text what turned out to be an undercover deputy offering $40 for a sex act.

Hardee also asked for mercy, saying he has been with terrible criminals and heard horrible language used during his time in jail since his August arrest, according to media outlets.

Hardee pleaded guilty and was sentenced Aug. 7 to probation and 45 days of house arrest for obstructing a bribery investigation . Hardee told an FBI informant to destroy his email after finding out about a bribery investigation. Authorities said they found no evidence Hardee ever accepted bribes.

Hours later, investigators said Hardee was busted in the undercover sting operation.

As he handed down the sentence, U.S. Judge Terry Wooten told Hardee he hoped the former official learned his lesson this time and pointed out even with the dementia diagnosis, the psychiatrist still testified Hardee knew right from wrong.

Prosecutors had asked Wooten to sentence Hardee to the full 16 months in prison he could have faced on the original obstruction charge.

Wooten gave Hardee credit for his time in jail since his arrest . He will have to serve three months in home confinement after he is released from prison and then finish his probation.

Hardee spent 13 years of the SCDOT board. The agency named the expressway to Columbia’s airport after him, but removed the designation and the signs honoring him after his prostitution arrest.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.