Witnesses testify in CRCT cheating trail against former educator - CBS46 News

Witnesses testify in CRCT cheating trail against former APS educator

Posted: Updated:

Fulton County prosecutor Clint Rucker gave the jury a snap shot of the state's case against former Atlanta Public School Executive Director Tamara Cotman.

"The people accused of cheating got rewarded. Those who told the truth got punished," Rucker said during his opening statement Friday.

"Ms. Cotman was directly responsible and in charge of the principals, as well as the staff and the students. She used her power and authority to intimidate one of the principals under her district," said Rucker.

Cotman was responsible for 21 schools in her district. She is accused of intimidating the principal at Smith Elementary School.

"That principal's name is Jimmie Hawkins and she intimidated Ms. Hawkins with her words because she did not want Ms. Hawkins to say what was going on within her school," said Rucker.

Rucker told jurors Cotman gave Hawkins a note to give to investigators. He said the note read, "go to hell!"

"How inappropriate given the fact there is an investigation going on in the cheating," said Rucker.

Cotman is accused along with 34 other APS educators, including former superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall, with cheating on the CRCT.

Cotman is charged with racketeering and intimidating a witness.

"When this defendant found out that Ms. Hawkins had in fact told somebody what she had said, this defendant retaliated against Ms. Hawkins by demoting her, transferring her and reducing her pay significantly, despite the fact that she had put her in the position only a couple months earlier," said Rucker.

Cotman's attorney waived her right to an opening statement.

Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.