Phone Calls Played in Trial of Ex SC State Trustee

Tuesday marked day two of the trial against former South Carolina State University Board Chair Jonathan Pinson.

The entire day focused around the testimony of Ed Givens, the second witness to take the stand in the case so far.

Givens is the former Chief of Staff at SC State who was one of 8 employees terminated throughout the investigation. He plead guilty in May for his involvement in a kickback scheme that centered around the university's 2011 homecoming concert.

Givens testified that the plan was to get the college to hire WE Entertainment to promote the concert. The company is co-owned by Eric Robinson, who is being tried along with Pinson.

According to the contract, WE Entertainment was given $12,500 up front and Givens testified the plan was that he and Pinson would receive $2,000 each from that money. If the concert made a profit, the contract outlined the school would keep 60% while WE entertainment would take 40.

In one of the calls recorded during a four-month period where Pinson's cell phone was wire tapped, Givens asked Pinson if they would split that 40% profit four ways equally between those involved in the scheme -- to which Pinson answered yes.

When the $12,500 check wasn't clearing fast enough, another call was played with Givens telling Pinson he couldn't ask about the check saying "it'll make me look funny, they already wondering why I care so much."

Other calls played included many conversations between Pinson and Robinson and included the two making negative comments with Pinson heard saying "I just want to make money" and he didn't care about the board of trustees at the school.

Givens is expected to continue to testify is Pinson's lawyer only began questioning him shortly before the court was postponed until Wednesday --- Robinson's lawyer will also get a chance to ask questions.

Prosecutors intend to call others who have plead guilty to the stand in the upcoming days, and expect this to be a lengthy trial saying it could take more than three weeks.


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