Verdict reached in APS cheating trial - CBS46 News

Verdict reached in APS cheating trial

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Tamara Cotman Tamara Cotman

A verdict has been reached in the trial of a former executive director for Atlanta Public Schools accused of cheating on the CRCT.

Tamara Cotman has been found not guilty. She is charged with racketeering and influencing a witness. Her current trial only covered the influencing a witness charge.

"I've always said that I serve a God of truth and the truth will set you free. Today I feel free,"said Cotman.

Cotman was the first to go to trial. She was charged in the cheating scandal along with 34 other APS educators.

As an executive director, Cotman was in charge of 21 schools. She was accused of intimidating a principal.

"I was just grateful the jurors listened to all the evidence and were able to filter the truth from things that weren't true," said Cotman.

Jury foreman Greg Pollock said the state presented them with a lot of evidence centered around cheating.

"We were not asked to decide whether or not there was cheating in the Atlanta Public Schools. This was a case about influencing a witness and so our focus was primarily with that," said Pollock.

Pollock said the one thing the state proved in this case is that Cotman was a tough boss. Cotman said going through this ordeal took a lot out of her.

"I lost so much along the way except my faith that's made me strong, but I can't put into words the stress over the last several years just waiting for this day," said Cotman.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he's not embarrassed about the not guilty verdict.

"We are disappointed with the verdict, but this is just one part of what we always thought would be a very long battle," said Howard.

Howard says he expects a different verdict when all the other educators and Cotman, who still has to face a racketeering charge, go to trial next May.

"I'm not embarrassed by it, the people on my staff are not embarrassed by it, we're simply getting ready for the next case," said Howard.

The trail for Cotman and the other 33 defenders is scheduled for May 2014.

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