UNREVIEWED: Jury selection underway in Riggins trial

ALBANY, Ga. -- Jury selection began Monday morning in the school lunch fraud trial of suspended Dougherty County School Board member Velvet Riggins.

Earlier in the day, Riggins 42, pleaded not guilty before Superior Court Judge Stephen Goss.

Riggins is facing four counts -- two felonies and two misdemeanors -- resulting from an April grand jury indictment alleging she fraudulently filled out a school lunch application to obtain free or reduced meals for her two children in the DCSS.

In July, Gov. Nathan Deal suspended Riggins from office pending outcome of her trial.

Jury selection began with questioning from Goss, South Georgia District Assistant District Attorney Heather Lanier and defense attorney Mark Brimberry. Goss said he hoped to have a jury seated by late this morning, with the first witness called by early afternoon.

"I thought it was a very productive day," Brimberry said of the 36 potential jurors questioned Monday. "We got a lot of good information and I was generally pleased with the jurors' responses."

Goss had originally planned to call five groups of 12 potential jurors into court, but late Monday asked the attorneys if they would agree to hear the fourth group in the morning (Tuesday) and return the fifth to the general juror pool.

Both attorneys agreed.

"I like for a case to move along quickly and I am sure the court does as well," Brimberry said. "I am sure we will have a jury struck by 1:30."