DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A DeKalb County judge has reversed the convictions of two people involved in a DeKalb County schools construction scandal.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne says Judge Cynthia Becker ordered the immediate release of Patricia Reid and her ex-husband, Tony Pope.
Both were convicted in a DeKalb County school construction scandal last year. Former Superintendent Crawford Lewis testified during the trial. In her order, Becker noted a “lack of complete and truthful" testimony in nine specific areas from Lewis.
Reid's defense attorney, Tony Adam, told Winne the judge's order technically means both Reid and Pope can be retried, but the prosecution has a big problem now that Becker says Lewis, a key witness, lacks credibility. Adam says that finding will make it difficult for the prosecution to use him as a witness in a retrial.
Lewis was sentenced to spend one year behind bars by Becker last year, despite striking a plea agreement that would allow him to avoid jail time and spend one year on probation.
At the time, Becker said she was not bound to the plea agreement, but the District Attorney said Becker agreed to the terms. Lewis served nearly a week in jail before being released on bond after his attorney filed an emergency motion.
Lewis was accused of knowingly signing off on a scheme in which DeKalb schools' Chief Operating Officer Patricia Pope, now Pat Reid, funneled work to her architect husband, Tony Pope. Prosecutors said the fraudulent payments totaled more than $2.3 million.
According to the terms of the deal, Lewis would plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of hindering and obstructing for his involvement in the school construction scandal and provide truthful testimony during Pope and Reid's trial.
Lewis appealed his sentence, and Friday, Channel 2 Action News learned the Court of Appeals had vacated his sentence and remanded the case back to the trial court.
It is unclear what Monday's developments will mean for Lewis.
Channel 2's Mark Winne learned late Monday that the district attorney has filed a motion to throw out Becker's order.