2,500 witnesses, 1 million pages of documents in APS case - CBS46 News

2,500 witnesses, 1 million pages of documents in APS cheating case

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

CBS Atlanta News is getting a better idea of just how massive the case is involving the Atlanta educators accused of cheating.

A handful of the educators named in the scandal were in court Thursday. They're accused of changing answers on the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test so kids would pass.

Prosecutors said they have nearly 2,500 witnesses and more than a million pages of documents.

Judge Jerry Baxter told the two sides he is floored by the scope of the cheating case.

One defense attorney said if you look at those numbers, the cheating scandal case is the biggest in Georgia history.

"You're not going to call 2,500 witnesses. I mean, that's crazy," Baxter said.

Prosecutors today told a judge the case against 35 Atlanta educators accused of cheating is highly unusual.

"You also have to remember that this case involves hundreds and hundreds of children," said prosecutor Fani Willis.

"It's overwhelming. It's extraordinary. It's unheard of. I have never seen a witness list of 2,440 cases in 36 years of practicing law," said defense attorney Bruce Harvey.

Harvey represents two of the educators charged. He and the attorney for former school superintendent Beverly Hall, David Bailey, told the judge wading through more than a million pages of documents will be impossible. Hall is the top administrator charged in the scandal.

"How massive is this case for you? How massive is the case? I guess we'll find out. Thank you," said Bailey.

The cheating probe has dragged on for years. Prosecutors said it's the largest investigation done by a team of Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents since the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in 1996.

Some lawyers defending teachers said they understand the case is massive, but they are not overwhelmed.

"I believe they want us to search out for the truth in the evidence and I think the evidence is right in front of their faces. The evidence is that these people did not participate in any widespread cheating. I think that will be borne out once we get to trial," said defense attorney Gerald Griggs.

The judge gave the two sides until early July to name who is most likely to be called from the witness list.

The 35 teachers, principals and administrators charged in the scandal have until January to decide whether they want to go to trial or strike a plea deal.

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