Unexpected start and charge tossed in day four of Riggins trial

J.C. Phillips on the witness stand Wednesday. / Colby Gallagher

The fourth day of the Velvet Riggins trial started off with a surprise and a charge being thrown out.

ladaniel Hooper was admitted as an extra witness, but was not expected to be called as she was not on the first witness list. The judge approved this because she is the lunchroom manager for Lincoln Elementary School during the 2011-2012 year during which one of Riggins' children attended. They asked if she saw him get lunch and could not recall for sure. They asked if she saw him in line and said she had seen in line, but could not confirm if he utilized the lunch. The defense asked her if J.C. Phillips from the Dougherty County School Police Department had approached her about records. She said that he had not, but if he had, she would have been able to provide.

The prosecutor then recalled J.C. Phillips to the stand. They asked him why he did not request records. His response was that he said it that he wasn't aware the records were purged during the summer. When he went to get them them, they did not exist. Phillips then went through all of Riggins income sources since 2009 and compared them to school lunch application and pointed out any discrepancies. The defense is next up to cross examine Phillips after a recess.

The defense then cross examined Phillips. They asked him specifics regarding the salary of Riggins. Brimberry says the salary they calculated for Riggins in 2011 would still qualify for free or reduced lunch under the guidelines.
The prosecutor then rested her case to allow the defense to begin their evidence of innocence.

Judge Goss swore in Riggins and told her the burden of proof has changed and she will have to make the decision to take the stand or not which is her sole decision.

Following this, Defense attorney Mark Brimberry motioned a request to throw out count one of public records fraud. After going over the reasoning and statutes, Judge Steven agreed and threw out the charge for being filed under the wrong statute. It was filed under the statute that someone went in and changed already filed paperwork, not that they turned in fraudulent paperwork.

Brimberry has now made requests to throw out both counts of theft by taking. Judge Goss denied both motions to allow the jury to make the decision. Brimberry is now requesting Judge Goss throw out count four of providing false information to obtain free or reduced lunch. Brimberry and Lanier are argued their sides, but Judge Goss denied the motion to throw out count four.

After a break for lunch, Brimberry called his first witness but her testimony was deemed irrelevant. Brimberry rested his case afterward.