Former Timmonsville Clerk of Court sues SC Attorney General

Former Timmonsville Clerk of Court Wilhelmena Washington filed a lawsuit Monday against the SC Attorney General's Office, Attorney General Alan Wilson and the State Law Enforcement Division.

Washington was charged with Forgery and Misconduct In Office in 2011. She was tried twice, and both trials ended in mistrials. The SC Attorney General's Office announced last November it wouldn't pursue a third trial against Washington and the indictments against her were dismissed.

She was charged after it was discovered that she signed a judge's signature to release paperwork for a Florence County Detention Center inmate, which she said she'd done many times before with the judge's approval. Washington argued she had signed the judge's name to paperwork at least 70 other times as part of her job.

Washington's attorney, Patrick McLaughlin, says the prosecution against her was retaliatory and vindictive in response to Washington not being able to help the State's ongoing investigation with the "many matters in Timmonsville," as well as Washington demanding a jury and a speedy trial and effectively presenting a defense against the charges at that first trial.

The lawsuit accuses SLED and the State Attorney General's Office of civil conspiracy.

Washington is seeking actual and consequential damages.

She is also seeking an award of compensatory and punitive damages.

It could be a year before this lawsuit goes to trial, if it doesn't settle out of court.