DECATUR — Only Channel 2 Action News was in court Wednesday afternoon when one of the key players in a high-profile corruption case involving a former DeKalb County Superintendent took a plea deal.
Crawford Lewis struck a deal and pleaded guilty to obstruction charges for his involvement in a school construction scandal.
The plea allowed Lewis to avoid more serious charges of racketeering and theft by taking.
Channel 2's Erica Byfield was in the courtroom Wednesday when Lewis formally pleaded to obstructing of a law enforcement officer, a misdemeanor.
Up until Wednesday, Lewis, like his other two co-defendants, faced multiple racketeering and theft by taking charges.
Tony Pope and Patricia Reid didn't say anything in open court and sat silently by their respective attorneys.
Prosecutors said Pope and Reid, who were married, cheated the system and were able to make millions of dollars off taxpayers.
Reid worked for the DeKalb County School District and Pope was an architect. The pair are now divorced.
As a part of Lewis' plea deal, the former superintendent agreed to testify against Pope and Reid. He also gets to avoid racketeering charges for allegedly buying a car from the school district at a steep discount, and theft by taking charges for allegedly using his district issued credit card to buy chocolates and strawberries for his mistress and using it on a vacation with his wife to the Bahamas.
Lewis won't know what his sentence will be for a while.
"The court will sentence you accordingly, subject to your truthful testimony during the trial of your co-defendants Patricia Reid and Vincent Anthony Pope," said Lawanda Hodges, assistant district attorney for DeKalb County.
There is still a gag order in the case so Byfield was unable talk to any of the players. The case is expected to go to trial later this month.
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