Judge almost declares mistrial in APS cheating case - CBS46 News

Judge almost declares mistrial in APS cheating case

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Judge Jerry Baxter Judge Jerry Baxter

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter gave prosecutors a stern warning Wednesday.

"I'm just warning you, I've about had enough of gray area stuff," said Baxter.

Defense attorney Benjamin Davis requested a mistrial after prosecutor Clint Rucker asked one of the state's rebuttal witnesses about a crime Tamara Cotman has not been charged with.

"He guided the witness to state that Mrs. Cotman committed a crime that she is not on trial for, that's highly prejudicial. It inflames the passion of the jury and is grounds for a mistrial," said Davis.

"You gotta watch your questions," Baxter told Rucker.

"Factually, we all know there are things that flow from cheating. There is no statute that says cheating is a crime, but there are things that flow from cheating that are criminal acts and Mrs. Cotman knows that," said Rucker. "If what she was trying to do is suppress these principals from telling the GBI what's going on in these schools, there is some criminal action that flows from that."

Cotman is accused of intimidating a principal who worked at a school in her district when she was an executive director for Atlanta Public Schools.

Cotman is charged along with 35 other former APS educators of cheating on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.

Both sides rested their case Wednesday. Jurors will hear closing arguments then begin deliberating Thursday.

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