Grand jury hears more evidence in DeKalb judge case

For the second time in a week, a special prosecutor laid out evidence for a grand jury that allegedly proves DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Becker made false statements to the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Prosecutor Parks White is asking the grand jury to return an indictment against Becker, who resigned March 1 after 14 years on the bench. In a letter announcing her planned retirement, Becker wrote that she was leaving the bench because she was getting married and moving to another county.

Becker allegedly made the false statements during an interview at a law office in Marietta, which made it a Cobb County matter.

White, the district attorney for five counties in northeast Georgia, was appointed special prosecutor when the Cobb district attorney recused his office because three of his top prosecutors were once practiced before Becker as assistant district attorneys in DeKalb.

He left the Cobb courthouse Thursday without commenting. Grand jury proceedings are secret by law.

Becker’s attorney, Brian Steel, also declined comment Thursday.

Becker is accused of making false statements when she was questioned about her sentencing of former DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis, which the the JQC was investigating.

Two years ago, Lewis was charged with felony racketeering and faced the possibility of up to 65 years in prison. But two weeks before his trial was scheduled to start, Lewis agreed to testify against his two co-defendants. — Pat Reid, the school district’s former chief operating officer, and Reid’s ex-husband, architect Tony Pope. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to let him plead guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of the investigation of school construction contracts and to recommend a sentence of 12 months probation.

Prosecutors and Lewis’ lawyers said Becker agreed to the deal.

Yet, when it came time to sentence Lewis, Becker ordered him jailed for 12 months. She said the deal was void because his testimony was not truthful. Becker also ordered Lewis locked up immediately and refused to consider an appeal bond until she returned the following week from an out-of-town trip to attend the Army-Navy football game.

Nine months later, the JQC started an administrative investigation into Becker. Last September, she was called to to the Marietta law office of JQC member Robert Ingram to answer questions. Becker insisted several times that Lewis never asked for a bond.

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