• Attorneys turn to theatrics during closing arguments in school corruption trial

    By: Erica Byfield


    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Closing arguments in a high profile corruption case looked more like a theater production Friday. Patricia Reid and Tony Pope are on trial, facing racketeering and theft by taking charges.

    Both of their attorneys used their time during closing arguments to try to persuade jurors prosecutors did not prove their case.

    Reid and Pope used to be married. Reid is a former DeKalb County Schools executive and Pope is an architect.

    The state alleges Reid used her influence to get Pope more than a million dollars worth of work.

    Reid's attorney, Tony Axam, wore goggles in an attempt to convince jurors they needed to have a clear perspective on the case; he also held up a toy school bus.

    "I have to throw someone under the bus, she has to go under the bus," Axam said.

    Axam then told jurors former codefendant Crawford Lewis threw is client under the bus.

    Lewis was a DeKalb County superintendent. He cut a deal with the state in October and agreed to testify against Reid and Pope.

    One of Pope's attorneys also had a theatric flare to his closings. J. Tom Morgan ripped a piece of paper while saying, "Truth of the matter that my client is innocent and indictment is garbage."

    The state fought back against that remark.

    Assistant District Attorney Lawanda Hodges told several times the state proved its case, and Reid and Pope are guilty.

    "You walk in innocent, that does mean you leave that way," she said.

    Jurors began deliberations late Friday and will continue Monday morning.

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