APS judge: didn’t want to waste tax dollars

The judge in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating case — under pressure by all 13 defendants to recuse himself — says he was only trying to safeguard taxpayer dollars when he phoned the Georgia Court of Appeals to ask the court to expedite an appeal related to the APS case.

The defendants in the massive case claim that Fulton County Superior Court Jerry Baxter was improperly trying to influence the outcome of an appeal filed by one of the defendants concerning a motion that Baxter had denied. But the judge says that isn’t the case.

“My intent was to find out how long it would take for them to make their decision,” Baxter said in a brief telephone interview Thursday. “Our jury clerk was about to send out summons for 1,500 jurors for a trial set to begin in early May. We were dealing with taxpayers’ dollars that I didn’t want to be wasted. I needed to know when the appeal would be decided.”

Baxter has delayed the start of the trial until August. The motion that Baxter remove himself from the case will be heard by a different Superior Court judge.

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