Crawford Lewis makes court appearance - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Crawford Lewis makes court appearance

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

As DeKalb County students headed back to class on Monday, their former superintendent headed to court.  Crawford Lewis faced a judge on charges including racketeering and bribery.  

Lewis and his alleged co-conspirators, former district CEO Patricia Reid and her ex-husband Tony Pope, were in court Monday afternoon.  Prosecutors say the three are responsible for an alleged conspiracy that used $80 million in taxpayer money.  

Lewis is accused of running a scheme where he and Reid funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in construction contracts to a company owned by her then-husband, Pope.  The three were arrested in 2010, and additional charges were filed against them in May.

Crawford Lewis has repeatedly maintained his innocence, saying that when he got into a courtroom he would explain his side of the story.

The actual court status hearing only took a matter of seconds. Pope's attorney John Petrey said he was worried about getting a fair trail in DeKalb County because the school district is facing budget problems.

"That is a consideration for us, but what we would need to do is assess that as we got closer to trial because one of the determining factors in whether or not a particular county is the correct place to try is at the time of trial is what's the public sentiment,' said Petrey.

The trial is expected now as soon as next month. Parents in DeKalb County are still angry about the allegations.

"It's just completely unacceptable. How can anybody get in that kind of position to serve the public and be so out of touch and so consumed with greed," said one woman.

The trial is scheduled to begin in September. If convicted, Lewis and the other two suspects could be facing decades behind bars.

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