APS educators charged in cheating scandal break silence


Michael Pitts and Sharon Davis Williams stood behind Tamara Cotman after a jury found Cotman not guilty of intimidating a witness.

Cotman was the first of the 35 Atlanta Public School educators charged in the cheating scandal to go to trial.

Her not guilty verdict now gives the other defendants like Pitts and Williams hope.

"I just had faith the truth would prevail and it did. I have faith that the outcome of my case will be the same," said Williams.

Like Cotman, Wiliams and Pitts were also executive directors for the district.

"I think this [Cotman's not guilty verdict] is the beginning of people understanding that we were always for the children and not being vilified by people who really don't know us. We think this is a good first step," said Pitts.

District Attorney Paul Howard said his team of prosecutors did not give it all they had in Cotman's case.

Fulton County Magistrate Judge and Civil Attorney Louis Levenson weighed in on the state's case against the other accused educators.

"He [Paul Howard] wanted to ring the bell on the first case. If he had a smoking gun and he didn't bring it out and put it on the table in the courtroom, that was a mistake," said Levenson. "You bring your best stuff early on in the game so everyone gets to see it and it does have a chilling effect on the other defendants."

The not guilty verdict gives Pitts confidence about his own case.

"I'm relieved that the other side of this story is coming out. We haven't had the chance to really defend ourselves because we have to wait for the court process," said Pitts.

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

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