Court asked to dismiss charges against former town clerk

Attorney Patrick McLaughlin has filed a motion asking the court to dismiss charges against his client, Wilhelmena Washington.

In November 2011, agents with the State Law Enforcement Division charged Washington with two counts of Forgery and two counts of Misconduct In Office.

At the time, she was the town clerk for the Town of Timmonsville.

Police say Washington forged Judge Lloyd Wilcox's signature to commitment and release paperwork for the Florence County Detention Center on inmate Willie Lee Robinson, Jr.

Her trial in November ended in a mistrial.

Last week, the South Carolina Attorney General's Office announced it would retry Washington.

A new trial date hasn't been set.

McLaughlin says his client has signed the judge's signature at least 70 other times, and he has the documents to prove it.

He says Washington was under the impression that she was allowed to sign such paperwork.

Washington had no criminal intent, and she neither willfully attempted to defraud anyone nor willfully breached any duty, McLaughlin says.

He argues charges against her should be dismissed because it was an honest mistake, and there was no criminal intent.

If the court doesn't dismiss charges, Washington is asking for a speedy trial.

Since the Attorney General's Office has already reached a decision to retry Washington, there is no reason to delay, McLaughlin says.

No word on when the court will hear Washington's motion to dismiss charges.