Judge gives Crawford Lewis option to withdraw guilty plea - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Judge gives Crawford Lewis option to withdraw guilty plea

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

A judge granted former DeKalb County School Superintendent Crawford Lewis' request to withdraw his guilty plea in a corruption case on Tuesday.

Superior Court Judge Cynthia Becker also allowed Lewis to appeal her decision rejecting his plea agreement in the DeKalb Schools corruption case if he chooses.  She did warn him that doing so would make him vulnerable to the felony charges he initially faced if prosecutors seek a retrial.

Prosecutors said that Lewis and his alleged co-conspirators, former district Chief Operating Officer Patricia Reid and her ex-husband Tony Pope, are responsible for an alleged conspiracy that used millions of dollars of taxpayer money.

Back in October, Lewis agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor obstruction charged and testify against Pope and Reid in the trial. During sentencing, the judge rejected a recommendation from prosecutors that Lewis only receive 12-months' probation and sentenced the former superintendent to a year in prison.

In court on Tuesday, Becker also had harsh words for Lewis' legal team, telling lead defense attorney MIchael Brown that she never agreed to accept the agreed upon plea deal before the DeKalb Schools corruption trial. Brown insisted that the judge indicated she would sign off on the sentencing agreement during an earlier plea hearing.

Reid and Pope received lengthy prison sentences for illegally diverting $1.4 million in school construction funds to Pope's architectural firm.

Lewis remains out on bail. He is awaiting the court of appeals decision before deciding whether he will withdraw his initial plea.

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