by: Carl Willis Updated:
ATLANTA - A former executive director with Atlanta Public Schools is set to go to trial in August for influencing a witness related to a widespread cheating scandal.
Before the conspiracy case is tried, Cotman will go to trial for using fear, intimidation and a demotion to influence Jimmye
Hawkins said she was demoted after what's been called the "Go to Hell" meeting Cotman held for area principals.
"Ms. Cotman was allegedly passing out
Shingler told Channel 2's Carl Willis his client was demoted because Cotman and others believed Hawkins reported the meeting to investigators.
"She felt like she was being targeted at that point, called out to meet with Ms. Cotman and being demoted," said Shingler.
Willis obtained court records Thursday that show the state intends to use "prior bad acts" to prove their case.
Those bad acts include evidence from APS employees who claim they were threatened with termination, reassigned and harassed by Cotman.
"I think it's the realization that they have no case against Ms. Cotman," said Cotman's attorney Benjamin
Some of the statements were made by parents who claim Cotman allegedly told them to keep quiet when they asked about students being given test answers.
"Just because you may believe a person is a bully, or not a nice
The state intends to show incidents prove intent and that the "Go to Hell" meeting was no joke or accident.
"I do not believe there was any specific instruction 'do not talk to the GBI,'" said Shingler. "There was clearly a message to be communicated that you should not cooperate with the GBI or the investigators."
Davis said Hawkins was never stopped from cooperating.
"This is the real question, if Ms. Hawkins had something to tell the GBI, what was it?" he said. "She didn't witness any cheating. This wasn't a witness the GBI was looking for."
The case is set to begin