Trial begins for former APS educator charged in cheating scandal - CBS46 News

Trial begins for former APS educator charged in cheating scandal

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Jury selection began Monday for former Atlanta Public Schools Regional Director Tamara Cotman.

She is the first of 35 APS educators charged in the standardized test cheating scandal to face a jury.

Her attorney Benjamin Davis requested a speedy and separate trial.

"If you look at all the individuals who were charged, she has the least allegations pending against her," said Davis.

Cotman was a regional director for APS. She is accused of racketeering and influencing a witness. Her trial that began Monday will only deal with the influencing a witness charge that accuses her of intimidating a principal.

Davis hopes the outcome of this trial will keep her from having a separate trial to address the racketeering charge.

"On the face of it, it's different, but if one were to pull the indictment she is essentially charged the same thing in the RICO indictment," said Davis. "There is a RICO charge but the only allegation is that she allegedly influenced a witness."

One of the biggest challenges the court will face is finding jurors who have not already formed an opinion.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter assembled 250 potential jurors on Monday. They filled out questionnaires and were told to call the courthouse on Tuesday to find out if they need to report Wednesday.

Jury selection is expected to last all week.

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