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Federal District Judge Faces Reprimand for Employment Contract

July 29, 2022, 8:31 PM

The Fourth Circuit plans to issue a public reprimand of a South Carolina federal trial court judge for agreeing to accept over $200,000 from his former employer as part of a separation agreement just before taking the bench in 2020.

Longtime Charleston County attorney Joseph Dawson signed a separation agreement nine days before his December 2020 confirmation by the US Senate to the District of South Carolina. The Trump appointee hadn’t disclosed the agreement in his financial disclosures to the Senate.

The county agreed to pay $216,000 in exchange for his “institutional and historical knowledge and insight” and “non-legal advice” ...