COLUMBIA - Suspended state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel, back in South Carolina following a 30-day stint at a rehab program in Arizona, was scheduled to make his first court appearance on a federal cocaine charge today.
Mr. Ravenel's attorneys entered a not guilty plea earlier for the 44-year-old multimillionaire developer earlier this month. He is charged with possession with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine. Prosecutors have said Mr. Ravenel shared the cocaine with his friends and did not sell the drug.
U.S. Magistrate Joseph McCrorey ordered Mr. Ravenel to appear in court within 48 hours of being released from treatment at the Sierra Tucson Center in Catalina, north of Tucson. It is a psychiatric hospital specializing in addiction and behavioral disorder treatment.
Mr. Ravenel is free on a $100,000 unsecured bond.
He was at home in Charleston on Monday, said his attorney Gedney Howe. He did not know when Mr. Ravenel returned to South Carolina and would not say what type of treatment he received in Arizona.
Mr. Ravenel's co-defendant, Michael Miller, remains in a Charleston County jail and has a preliminary hearing Thursday on a state cocaine trafficking charge.
Mr. Miller also pleaded not guilty earlier this month to the same federal charge faced by Mr. Ravenel.
Mr. Ravenel, who founded a commercial real estate company, was suspended from office by Gov. Mark Sanford immediately after the indictment was announced June 19.
The son of Arthur Ravenel, a former congressman and state senator, he started his political career in 2004 by funding his own campaign for U.S. Senate. He lost in the Republican primary.
Mr. Ravenel won the treasurer's office in November, easily beating a longtime Democrat incumbent.
If convicted, Mr. Ravenel faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
South Carolina's multimillionaire treasurer has been down on his luck since being charged with possession with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
HE SAYS: Not guilty.
PROSECUTORS SAY: Mr. Ravenel shared the cocaine with his friends.- Associated Press