Washington (CNN) - Failed South Carolina Senate Democratic candidate Alvin Greene wants a jury to decide whether he is guilty of showing pornographic images to a college student. On Tuesday Greene's lawyer informed the prosecutor his client would not accept a plea deal previously offered, Assistant Solicitor Andrew Rogers told CNN.
Greene is facing a felony charge of disseminating obscene images and a misdemeanor count of communicating obscene messages from an incident last year in which he allegedly showed such images to a University of South Carolina student in a dorm's computer lab.
Prosecutors had anticipated Greene would accept the deal which would involve him pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charge, which can carry a sentence of 0-3 years, and the felony county would be dropped.
"I was informed today he had rejected the plea," Rogers told CNN. Regarding a hearing set for Tuesday, Rogers said Greene's attorney previously "had informed the court…we should treat this (hearing) as a plea." The change in circumstances is forcing prosecutors to change gears.
Because of some scheduling conflicts that arose, the formal court hearing scheduled for Tuesday was not held although Greene was in court. Instead the decision to proceed to trial was communicated to the court informally.
A trial will not be held before Jan. 17th, but an exact date has not been set.
Greene shocked the South Carolina political world when last summer he captured the Democratic nomination to run against incumbent Republican Sen. Jim DeMint. He immediately drew criticism from Democrats in the state because the unemployed former soldier did not have the apparent financial means to afford the filing fee, and many party veterans in the state questioned whether the political novice was qualified.
Right after capturing the nomination the existence of the criminal charges against him emerged prompting state party activists to press him to withdraw from the race. But he refused.
Also raising questions were his often meandering answers in several interviews and how he hardly campaigned during the election.
Throughout his candidacy Greene repeatedly refused to talk about the allegations.
"I'm innocent until proven guilty. And like I said, I'm concentrating on my campaign issues, jobs, education and justice," Greene told CNN in a June interview.
A message to Greene's attorney Tuesday seeking comment was not immediately returned.