Greene could see end to charges

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COLUMBIA -- Former U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene can enter a pretrial intervention program that will drop a misdemeanor obscenity charge against him as long as he completes community service and counseling, a prosecutor announced Monday.

Prosecutors also decided to drop a felony obscenity charge against the unemployed Army veteran, meaning Greene won't face any time behind bars as long as he successfully finishes the program.

Reached at his Manning home, Greene said he was glad prosecutors are letting him enter the program, which he suggested was the best outcome for the case several times on the campaign trial, as he called for fairness in the justice system.

"This whole thing is ridiculous and should have never even got to this point," Greene said. "Somebody's just trying to run over me."

He also again denied showing a pornographic picture to a University of South Carolina student at a campus computer lab.

"I'm denying it. This is all ridiculous I didn't do that stuff," Greene said.

Green said he hadn't spoken to his lawyer said so he hadn't made a final decision about whether to enter the program.

Greene was arrested in November 2009 after police said he used an old college ID to get past dorm security and into the computer lab. Last year, his attorney told The Associated Press that Greene's actions were just a bad attempt to flirt with the student.

Greene, 33, is eligible for pretrial intervention because he was accused of a non-violent crime and has no criminal record, said Solicitor Dan Johnson, who was elected Richland County's top prosecutor last November. In the same election, Greene got just 28 percent of the vote as he lost to U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint.

The felony charge was dropped because there was not enough evidence, Johnson said.

Greene was thankful the new solicitor decided not to keep pursuing the charges, which could have landed him in jail for several years if he was convicted.

"This should have been done all before I filed. That office, they had a different agenda. They wanted to bring it into the campaign," Greene said.

Word of the criminal charges didn't emerge during the run-up to the Democratic primary a year ago. Greene did not campaign but still stunned an established party regular by taking 59 percent of the vote.

The charges surfaced the day after Greene won the nomination and his political career has struggled since. He was mocked in national interviews for the simple answers he repeated during interviews like "DeMint started the recession" and the long pauses during his conversations.

An interview with the AP on Monday took a similar path, with Greene repeating "the whole thing was ridiculous" several times.

Greene ran for his local South Carolina House seat in a special election earlier this year and picked up less than 1 percent of the vote. He still hasn't found a job and still lives with his ill father in their childhood home.

Greene is still thinking about a run for president. He spoke to a reporter about a spat between some South Carolina lawmakers and the governor about whether the governor could call legislators back into session this week and laughed when he was asked if he had got a job since the last election.

"The country can't do without me because I am the man," Greene said. "I was born to be president and I will be 35 right before the election."


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