Updated:DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A DeKalb County judge disqualified attorneys representing former School Superintendent Crawford Lewis on Friday.
The order came after prosecutors challenged whether Lewis could get fair representation from Mike Brown, an attorney for Alston and Bird, one of Atlanta's largest law firms.
Lewis and two others are accused of racketeering involving multimillion dollar school construction projects. Prosecutor John Melvin pointed out in court Thursday morning that Alston and Bird also represents Parsons Construction, whom the school district hired to oversee projects after Lewis resigned.
One of Parsons' employees is a key witness against Lewis. Prosecutors said their employee will testify to uncovering "inappropriate activities" with some of those projects.
Prosecutors said they are worried that Brown might pull punches against that employee when cross examining her on the stand because Parsons is a big client of that firm.
"My overriding concern is not only to have a fair trial," Melvin told Channel 2's Richard Elliot after the hearing, "but also in the rights not only of the defendant Crawford Lewis, but other defendants as well."
Melvin said he's worried that should Lewis lose the case, he could ask for an appeal based on an ineffective council argument.
Brown argued that his firm does not represent Parsons in its dealings with the school district and promised he would aggressively represent Lewis in court. He also promised Judge Cynthia Becker he would isolate his case from the rest of the firm, but Becker's dismissal won't give him that chance.