Fulton County Jail after a jury reached guilty verdicts in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial.
The jury convicted 11 of 12 defendants of racketeering. Jurors acquitted only one defendant, Dessa Curb, of all charges.
Channel 2’s Carl Willis spoke with defense attorney Gerald Griggs moments after he visited his client Angela Williamson at Fulton County Jail Wednesday evening.
“The battle is not quite over yet,” Griggs said. “The jury has spoken but the sentence has not been pronounced. There’s still an opportunity for the judge to sentence her probation and then we fight it on appeals,” Griggs said.
The decision comes 7 years after an investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that exposed the cheating.
The Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal that took years to come together and a trial that took six months to present came to an end so
suddenly that none of the former educators seemed prepared for the jury’s decision.
Judge Jerry Baxter surprised defense attorneys brushing back their arguments to let defendants remain out on bond through sentencing.
“It’s not one of the things I get a kick out of, but they have made their bed and they’re going to have to lie in it,” Baxter said.
District Attorney Paul Howard celebrated with his team after the verdict saying this was a win for the community and should make APS better.
“We’ve been fighting for the children in our community, particularly those children who were deprived by this cheating scandal,” Howard said.
Still, defense attorneys say the punishment, at least to this point, doesn’t fit the crime.
“You have educators with no record and you put them in general population, you’re dealing with a whole different animal. We don’t even want to think about right now,” Griggs said.
Baxter set sentencing for the 11 for next Wednesday.