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Over the past year, an LLC linked to pro-Trump attorney L. Lin Wood scooped up three multimillion-dollar plantations spanning a combined 2,035 acres in northern Beaufort County.
The Atlanta-based lawyer, who built his career on high-profile defamation cases, said Monday on social media that he was changing his legal residency from Georgia, where he has lived for 65 years, to South Carolina.
“I love the land in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and the people here are simply wonderful. South Carolina has welcomed me,” Wood wrote on Telegram. “Georgia has falsely accused me and shunned me.”
Following that announcement, WSB-TV in Atlanta reported on Tuesday evening the Georgia Secretary of State’s office is investigating whether Wood was a legal Georgia resident when he cast his ballot in the Nov. 3 presidential election, a move Wood called “pure harassment,” saying that he had only recently filed paperwork to change his residency.
Wood boosted QAnon and and railed against voter fraud while litigating on behalf of former President Donald Trump’s failed effort to overturn the 2020 election results. The attorney risked his law license, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, by saying last week that he would refuse a mental health evaluation requested by the State Bar of Georgia.
“I know that truth always prevails over lies,” Wood said in an interview with The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette Tuesday evening. “So the people that are attacking me, I don’t lose any sleep over it.”
Twitter permanently banned the attorney one day after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol for a tweet that allegedly incited violence and for Wood’s statement that he intended get around a temporary ban by using another account, Buzzfeed News reported. Wood had also tweeted that the takeover was “staged” by antifa and previously predicted Vice President Mike Pence would “face execution by firing squad.”
Lowcountry residents might expect to see Wood, who has gained celebrity status among Trump devotees, out and about more frequently in the coming months.
In a series of videos that appear to have been shot outside the Family Bible Fellowship of Ridgeville near Yemassee, posted on Sunday on Telegram, Wood said he is spending more time in Beaufort County than at his other homes in Georgia.
The 68-year-old attorney first visited the area with a friend, he said in one video. “I saw some property here that has an oak alley that’s been described as the most beautiful and unique oak alley in the world and I got to the gate … and I looked over at my friend and I said, ‘God wants me to buy this place,’” Wood said, “And I did the next day.”
In an interview, Wood said he would continue to practice law out of his Atlanta office. “Let’s just say between the Lowcountry and Georgia, I just found the Lowcountry in South Carolina a lot more appealing in terms of residence,” he said.
LLC buys three multimillion-dollar plantations
Wood’s real estate ventures in South Carolina began last year and flowed through a newly established company called The Tomotley Crew LLC, which the attorney acknowledged he formed when he made his first purchase.
In April of last year, the LLC purchased the 1,010-acre Tomotley Plantation, which boasts two half-mile entryways lined with moss-clad live oak trees planted in 1820, for $7.9 million, property records show.
In Beaufort County land records, the company has listed mailing addresses matching one associated with Wood’s Atlanta law practice and another with a residential property he owns in the city. Last year, the attorney signed mortgage paperwork as a member of the LLC.
The Tomotley land was once worked by enslaved people to produce rice, according to the website South Carolina plantations. It is home to a 14-acre lake, a hunting lodge and hundreds of acres of “old growth quail woods,” says a real estate listing by Jon Kohler & Associates, a boutique firm specializing in plantations and ranches.
That purchase was just the beginning.
In October, the LLC paid $5.9 million to acquire the adjacent Cotton Hall Plantation, a 716-acre property which dates back to the 1700s, according to the website South Carolina Plantations.
Then in December, for a sum of $2.7 million, the company added the 309-acre Huspa Plantation, several miles to the south of the other properties, to its Lowcountry portfolio.
The Huspa land features a 4,500-square-foot home with a swimming pool and guest house, a horse barn and stables, and dual airplane hangars with an air strip, according to a real estate listing.
The purchases totaled $16.5 million and left The Tomotley Crew LLC owning 2,035 acres in the Sheldon area of Beaufort County.
The LLC recently sold a piece of the Tomotley Plantation, covering 240 acres, for $1.7 million — a $300,00 loss from its purchase price of $2 million, according to land records and a deed filed with Beaufort County on Monday. On that document, Wood is listed as the company’s “sole member.”
The attorney said he intends to preserve the land he’s purchased and is considering a number of projects for future, including building a chapel, a rescue facility for puppies and possibly a camp for children.
“I want to try to do good things for other people,” Wood said. “And I hope everybody will find that I’m a good neighbor, and a good citizen of South Carolina.”
Wood faces fallout from failed push to overturn election
The libel attorney’s forays into Beaufort County come after a storied career that saw Wood represent high-profile clients whose reputations had been tarnished in the public eye by the government and the news media.
His best known clients include Richard Jewell, a security guard wrongly suspected of planting a deadly bomb in Atlanta’s Centennial Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics, and the parents of murdered 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey, who fought to clear their names as the case received national media attention.
As of late, Wood has had a second act as a firebrand for President Trump and controversial figures elevated by the right wing of the GOP. He has represented Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who brandished guns at protesters outside their home, and Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager charged with fatally shooting two Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Kenosha, Wis.
Wood appeared at a Georgia “Stop the Steal” rally clad in a red “Make America Great Again” hat and upset conservatives by suggesting GOP voters skip the Jan. 5 Senate runoff election. Publicly, he railed against state officials such as Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, saying they committed crimes while rigging the presidential election in favor of Joe Biden.
In recent years, he has clashed with his colleagues over what they call his erratic behavior and ardently embraced Christianity, which Wood said alienated his family, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The attorney’s support for unfounded theories of election fraud appear to have had professional repercussions. A Delaware judge kicked him off a defamation case in January, and the State Bar of Georgia has acknowledged it is investigating complaints against Wood.
The complaints are “nothing more than a character assassination attempt” based on “a political agenda designed to smear me and attack me,” the attorney said. “Judge me by the body of my life’s work,” he added.
Wood is thrilled about his decision to live in South Carolina, he wrote Monday on Telegram, adding he plans to live in the Palmetto State for the rest of his life.
“Now I can vote against Lindsey Graham!” Wood wrote.