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Jury selection begins in Riggins trial

Velvet Riggins

Velvet Riggins

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.”

Comments

saveourcity 1 year, 7 months ago

I hope they put her under the jail. What a horrible example for our children. The Bakers should be in adjoining cells.

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bigbob 1 year, 7 months ago

What a waste of taxpayer money. You couldn't find 12 people in Albany that would find her guilty if the pope testified he saw her do it. The black in Albany defense is the best defense out there.

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RedEric 1 year, 7 months ago

The judge cannot overturn a not guilty jury decision, but he can order a new trial......maybe this trial IS a trial. To see if Albany is capable of self governance.

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Amazed2 1 year, 7 months ago

Even if she murdered someone and their was video evidence you could not get 12 jury votes to convict her in Albany. At least 2 or 3 would say they not sure it was her in the video. Maybe trick photography or somwthing.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 7 months ago

If the evidence is compelling sufficiently for an unquestionable guilty verdict and the jury does not convict. It would be reasonable and justifiable for taxpayers to withhold the school tax portion of the country ad valorem taxes in the fall. Lincoln said we have the right to alter or abolish the government. We must make a determination of conviction for the childen and the poor families. "Here I stand. I can do no other."

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Jimboob 1 year, 7 months ago

If the outcome is already a fact then why are we wasting the time and money on a trial... She is a liar and a thief and is running unopposed... :-(

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waltspecht 1 year, 7 months ago

About a month or two after the trial we shall have to see if any of the holdout Jurors, if there are any, sells a used car or boat for about five times what it is worth. Or they just might stumble into a super deal for a vehicle where a divorce is going on. That is how it used to happen around here, and I doubt things have changed that much.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 7 months ago

I won't say the jury trial can't or won't go sideways with the jury. She was arrested with her name voluntarily signed to several fraudulent applications (in ink) for receiving free/reduced lunches for her children. If they can authenticate her signature the verdict will be inescapable and incontrovertible. Jurors black or white should be reasonable if they want honest school board members.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 7 months ago

The ONLY reason Riggins would not accept a below-felony plea deal is that she is absolutely certain that her people will not convict.

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VietVet1 1 year, 7 months ago

This is Albany folks, so we know where this will end up.

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Amazed2 1 year, 7 months ago

I would say she knows eactly what her chances are and is being advised by the fine upstanding Brimberry Legal team to do exactly what she is doing. The Brimberry's are very good at what they do. Unfortunately making a mockery of doing what is right is just that here in Albany. I still don't know or understand why or just how hard it would have been before the DA's office was FORCED by the public to press criminal charges for Velvet just to simply say I messed up and I am sorry. People would have accepted that and moved on. Would there have been reprecussions, most certainly but no more that what has happened and most likely less. The Girl Scout might not have terminated her. She could have somewhat in a dignified manner just stepped aside from the DCSS Board seat and the Govenor would not have had to unseat her. But I guess she is in denial and she is being guided but the Brimberry Legal Firm. Those guys at Brimberry don't come cheap cause the specialie in cases like these. My wonder is WHO is bankrolling this opertation? Could it be some of the Black Ministers that want on the DCSS Board if Velvet Riggins is OUT??

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MRKIA 1 year, 7 months ago

EXCELLENT POST. HER ATTITUDE AND DENIAL BROUGHT HER TO THIS POINT.

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Outtahere 1 year, 7 months ago

Let's get this party started then......

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Tonto 1 year, 7 months ago

This trial should be held in the Albany theatre, free pop corn and a coke for senior citizens.

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MRKIA 1 year, 7 months ago

I STILL SAY THE STATE WILL GET A CONVICTION ON AT LEAST 1-2 OF THE CHARGES SHORT OF A LAST MINUTE PLEA DEAL. LET THE JURY DECIDE. DITTO FOR THE BAKERS; HAVING A SALARY NEARLY 3 TIMES RIGGINS, THE SITUATION LOOKS WORSE SINCE ANYONE MAKING 90K ISN'T ELIGIBLE FOR HARDLY ANYTHING. SET AN EXAMPLE WITH THESE TWO AND PUT EVERYONE ELSE ON NOTICE.

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