Prosecutors present list of 2,400 witnesses in APS cheating case

by: Carl Willis Updated:

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ATLANTA - A judge ordered attorneys to work together to get a better handle on the massive Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal case.

Prosecutors listed 2,440 witnesses who could take the stand.

They also said that they plan to enter more than 1 million documents into evidence.

"It's a barrage of documents coming from a lot of different sources," explained Executive Assistant District Attorney Fani Willis.

Defense attorneys told Channel 2's Carl Willis that the amount of paperwork to analyze and the number of possible witnesses is stifling.

"You cannot have a trial with 2,400 people testifying just for the state," said defense attorney Gerald Griggs.

"I think the massive amount of people, the massive amount of documents is really going to be an impediment to any kind of swift action," said defense attorney Bruce Harvey.

Judge Jerry Baxter ordered prosecutors to contain the case by producing a one-page synopsis of relevant testimony.

"You're not going to call 2,500 witnesses," Baxter told prosecutors. "That's crazy. So you need to get real. If you've got a case, you need to put it on the table."

Willis explained that this was the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's largest investigation since the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.

Prosecutors said the mountain of paperwork was due to the sheer size of the investigation.

"They literally went into the schools, and investigators interviewed hundreds and hundreds of school children, and some children would say specific things like, 'My teacher, "Defendant A," told me to cheat, and this is how they did it,'" Willis said.

The 35 defendants, including former APS Superintendent Beverly Hall, are accused of being a part of a conspiracy.

The former administrators and educators are accused of cheating on standardized tests, concealing cheating, or retaliating against whistle-blowers in an effort to boost test scores.

Despite the amount of paperwork, Griggs said the truth will come out.

"I believe (prosecutors) want us to search out for the truth and the evidence," said Griggs. "I think the evidence is right in front of their faces. The evidence is these people did not participate in any widespread cheating."

Baxter ordered prosecutors to produce the synopsis of relevant testimony by July 3.



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