Former clerk of court's trial set for Sept. 20

After waiting for more than a year, former Beaufort County Clerk of Court Elizabeth Smith will have her day in court.

Smith, 47, will be tried Sept. 20 on charges of embezzlement of public funds and misconduct in office, according to 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone.

The trial will be in the Beaufort County Courthouse in Beaufort, presided over by Circuit Court Judge Brooks Goldsmith of Lancaster.

Goldsmith was appointed by S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal to hear the case.

Smith's attorney, Mike Macloskie of Beaufort, said he and his client are ready for trial.

"Like any problem, this deserves an answer and a resolution," Macloskie said. "I think Elizabeth is anxious to get it over with."

Smith could not be reached for comment.

A Beaufort County grand jury indicted Smith on July 30, 2009, on charges of embezzling more than $23,500 from two public accounts in the clerk's office to buy insurance policies for relatives and make payments on a home on Pawleys Island.

Smith, who was about nine months into her third term as clerk of court, faxed her resignation to Gov. Mark Sanford minutes before Stone announced the indictments.

Smith was charged with four counts of embezzlement of public funds and one count of misconduct in office. She is free on bond and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

If convicted, Smith faces five to 10 years in prison and could hold public office again only if the money is repaid and she is approved by two-thirds of the General Assembly, according to state law.