The federal government's case against former Beaufort County Clerk of Court Elizabeth Smith is moving forward.
Smith's attorney, Lionel Lofton of Charleston, is scheduled to appear in a federal courtroom March 1 in Charleston for a pretrial conference before U.S. District Court Judge Sol Blatt, according to federal court records.
The outcome of the conference will help determine whether Smith is ready for trial or if she wants the case continued, said Winston Holliday, who is prosecuting the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"At this point, I don't know what she's planning to do," Holliday said.
Holliday said the government is prepared to go to trial should Smith and her attorney decide she is ready.
Smith declined to comment. Attempts last week to reach Lofton were unsuccessful.
Smith was indicted by a federal grand jury in September and charged with one count of unlawful conversion of public funds.
Smith is accused of writing at least five unauthorized checks worth a total of $338,500 to pay the salary of her husband, Manning Smith, who once ran the Beaufort County Drug Court, and other drug court costs from January 2006 to June 2009, according to the indictment.
Smith pleaded not guilty during an arraignment hearing in October.
If convicted, she faces a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in federal prison. Manning Smith was removed from his post by S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal for undisclosed reasons in August 2009.
The federal indictment against Elizabeth Smith was announced the day after she was convicted in state court of embezzlement of public funds and misconduct in office.
A Beaufort County jury found Smith guilty of writing checks worth $23,500 from public accounts to help pay for insurance premiums for relatives and a vacation home on Pawleys Island.
She was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Brooks Goldsmith to five years of probation and 200 hours of community service.
She is serving her sentence in Florence, where she lives with her husband.