Those entrusted by the electorate with public office are expected to hold those offices with honesty, integrity and a keen ethical sensibility. This is also true of those who weren’t elected to their office, but were, instead, appointed to their positions by elected officials.

The public rightly regards the revelation of corruption, graft and general dirty dealing on the part of elected officials as an unacceptable betrayal. So do prosecutors, who relentlessly pursue cases against officials they believe are corrupt.

If you’re facing these accusations, it’s absolutely crucial that you choose Bill Nettles as your criminal defense attorney. He has a unique measure of experience in corruption cases and understands the intricacies of these charges.

If you’ve been accused of corruption or graft in South Carolina, you can’t find a better criminal defense attorney than Bill Nettles. Please call the Law Office of Bill Nettles today at 803-814-2826.

Why Choose Bill Nettles for Your Public Corruption Case?

As noted above, state and federal prosecutors take public corruption charges very seriously. And we know this because Bill Nettles was on that side of the law for many years.

From 2010 to 2015, Mr. Nettles served as the US Attorney for the District of South Carolina. He was appointed to that role by President Obama and served as the chief federal law enforcement officer in the state for longer than any US Attorney since the 60’s. This meant that he had the opportunity to significantly re-shape the US Attorney’s office and dramatically change its priorities.

Perhaps the biggest change Mr. Nettles made was in the office’s public corruption unit. When he took over the office, public corruption and graft were not high priorities. Instead, drug crimes and other offenses were a top concern.

Bill Nettles changed that. He brought in some of the very best public corruption attorneys in the country and ensured that the office’s public corruption unit had the resources it needed. And under his leadership, the US Attorney’s office in South Carolina established itself as one of the strongest and most vigorous pursuers of public corruption charges in the country.

So when we say that Mr. Nettles has unique experience in public corruption and graft cases, we mean it. He understands just how seriously prosecutors take these charges, and he knows what makes for a good case.

More importantly, he knows how to win public corruption cases.

Examples of Public Corruption and Graft

Because many public officials have ready access to significant amounts of taxpayer money, there are many different ways for corruption to take hold. As such, state and federal laws consider a wide range of behaviors to be “corrupt.” Some of these charges are obvious; some, rather less obvious.

Examples of public corruption and graft that Mr. Nettles has handled include:

  • Straight-forward embezzlement
  • Bribery
  • Directing public funds to friends, family members or business associates
  • Accepting gifts in violation of relevant laws
  • So-called “pay to play” deals, in which campaign donations are essentially exchanged for government contracts
  • Using government power to extort innocent parties

Every one of these charges needs to be taken seriously. There’s no such thing as a “minor” public corruption charge. While these cases are categorized as white collar crimes, you should understand that prosecutors consider them a high priority.


As with just about every crime, the possible sentence you could be facing depends on the specific circumstances of your case. The extent and severity of the alleged crime will play a significant role in determining the length of your sentence, should your case reach that point.

However, it’s fair to say that a conviction for public corruption or graft can easily carry with it a significant prison term and a hefty fine. The news is filled with stories of politicians who spent years in prison after being convicted of public corruption charges.

This, of course, is on top of the public shame that comes with any such conviction. A politician convicted of public corruption has no future in politics, and the same can be said for an appointed public official.

All of this illustrates the importance of successfully fighting the charges you’re facing.

Strategies for Fighting a Public Corruption Charge

Obviously, the strategy we craft to fight your charges will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all criminal defense strategy, and every case is unique.

And that’s where our defense starts- with a thorough investigation into the details of your case. The prosecution will have a theory about your case, a narrative it will try to sell to a judge and jury. We’ll ensure that narrative is not left unchallenged.

We conduct thorough, comprehensive, professional investigations. As part of our work for you, we will:

  • Speak to witnesses, both those assembled by the prosecution and those we feel can help your case
  • Examine all relevant documents and financial records. These can be complicated, which means it’s crucial you have an attorney who understands the issues involved.
  • Explore relevant legal precedents and theories that might prove useful for your case. Public corruption laws are complicated, and it’s possible for an action to look bad while not actually violating the law.

Put simply, we will fight for you at every step of the process and ensure your rights are protected. There are no guarantees in the law, but we know from ample experience that our representation can prove invaluable.

Plea Bargains

Of course, a viable defense must be clear-eyed about its prospects for success. We will fight for you and work to prove your innocence, but we will also provide you with learned legal advice based on your best interests.

This advice includes recommending whether or not a plea bargain is the right choice for you. We recognize that a plea bargain in a public corruption case is no small thing- even without an admission of guilt, it can be extraordinarily damaging to your public perception and your career.

But there are times where making a deal is the smart move. We will listen to offers from the prosecution and negotiate in good faith, but we will always have your best interests in mind. Mr. Nettles will not be intimidated during these negotiations, and if he feels an offer is not right for you, he will recommend you reject it.

A public corruption charge is serious, and it can leave you reeling. But don’t let that prevent you from finding the best possible legal representation.

If you’ve been accused of public corruption or graft as part of a state or federal investigation in South Carolina, please call the Law Office of Bill Nettles today at 803-814-2826.

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