Monday, October 3, 2011
Crawford Lewis Wins Court Victory
UPDATE: We apparently jumped the gun on this - no decision has been made yet. Seems this was actually old news. The crew at Channel 2 was doing some website updating and this story got moved - making it look like it was new, but it's from November, 2010. Sadly, the appeals court has not yet reached a decision on Lewis' claim.
WSB Channel 2 is reporting that Dr. Lewis won his appeal to keep his Alston & Bird attorney. The court apparently agreed with his claim that the previous decision was drastic and unfair, leaving him broke and needing to start over with his defense and agreed to hear his case.
Lewis is apparently out of funds, having spent the $100,000 the school board allocated for his defense against racketeering charges stemming from a criminal enterprise he allegedly ran inside the school administration that focused on abuse and misappropriation of SPLOST construction funds as well as state funds that he misused for personal expenses and travel.
"Dr. Lewis has spent nearly all of his available funds to prepare his defense. Now, just three months before the trial, the trial court has disqualified his counsel leaving him with little time and resources to defend himself against serious charges that could send him to prison"
Ironically, they interviewed Manny Arora, Pat (Pope) Reid's former attorney who agreed that it would be a hardship for Lewis to start over. Reid is also charged with SPLOST misappropriation and racketeering. Her former husband, SPLOST architect Vincent Pope and her secretary Cointa Moody are charged as well and face trials of their own.
However, the first court still insists that the conflict of interest is clear.
When the appeals court actually does render a decision, a trial can begin. Let's hope things can get moving. The public has waited long enough, and wasted far too much money on these trials, literally using money earmarked for student's educations to pay attorneys for construction lawsuits and alleged criminal activity instead. In fact, in the civil case with Heery-Mitchell, initiated by Dr. Lewis himself, the school system has spent well over $15.5 million to fund a countersuit against Heery. Something like 14 school system employees, board members or former board members have been named in this suit and the board has voted to pay for each of their defenses as well. This must get resolved. There are many school systems across this country that could effectively run their entire system on what we spend on legal fees.