The Velvet Riggins trial over free lunches began Monday morning in Dougherty County Superior Court.The trial began with a reading of the charges that Riggins is facing.Riggins is facing four counts; two felonies and two misdemeanors. The felonies are public record fraud which carries a sentence of two to ten years in prison and theft by taking from someone in a position of power which can be up to 15 years in prison. The two misdemeanors are theft by taking which looks at the monetary loss suffered and providing false information. Both misdemeanors have a penalty of up to twelve months. Riggins pleaded not guilty to the charges.Then a lengthy jury selection began to ensure an impartial, fair and balanced jury in such a highly publicized case. South Georgia District Assistant District Attorney Heather Lanier, Riggin's defense attorney Mark Brimberry, and Judge Stephen Goss questioned a pool of 60 potential jurors about personal relationships within the school system, judicial system and other various topics that would cause a conflict of interest.
The 12-person jury will be in place by Tuesday afternoon and will have some work cut out for them -- 20 names are listed as possible witnesses during the week's proceedings.