Former South Carolina State University General Counsel and Chief of Staff Edwin Givens has pleaded guilty to his role in a kickback scheme involving homecoming entertainment.
Appearing in federal court in Charleston on Tuesday, Givens pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony. Prosecutors say he knew of the scheme, but failed to tell law enforcement.
Prosecutors also claim he received a $500 kickback, but he gave it to the S.C. Educational Foundation instead of pocketing it.
"This has been a long ordeal for me and my family. I regret being a part of some phone conversations entailing improper activities, but it is important to stress that I never profited in any way for these illegal activities. Not one single dime," Givens said in a statement released after Tuesday's plea hearing.
Givens’ sentence will be set within the next 60 to 90 days. Meanwhile, he remains out on $5,000 personal recognizance bond.
The maximum sentence he can receive is three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors are recommending six months of probation.
He is the sixth person to have pleaded guilty in the ongoing federal corruption case involving S.C. State.
Former S.C. State board Chairman Jonathan Pinson and co-defendant Eric Robinson have pleaded not guilty in the case. Their trial was delayed in March following the discovery that several thousand pages of documents were not given to the defendants.
The federal government has charged Pinson with using his position to solicit favors and money. Authorities claimed he unsuccessfully arranged for the university to buy property in exchange for a Porsche.
Prosecutors said Pinson also conspired to receive kickbacks from Robinson, whose entertainment company received a contract for S.C. State’s 2011 homecoming concert.
In November, Pinson was also charged with racketeering and wire fraud. Authorities claim Pinson lied to law enforcement during the investigation, paid himself money that should have gone to contractors on a government-funded project and submitted false federal paperwork to get more money.