Emotional moment in Seattle fraud trial

by: Deborah Horne Updated:


SEATTLE - The main player in a scheme to steal a quarter million dollars from Seattle Schools said he confessed his crimes because of his children.

"There's no integrity in telling a lie and letting your children know you're lying when they knew that I was getting the money," said Silas Potter.

It was the most emotional testimony from Potter and came near the end of his nearly two days on the witness stand. David Johnson's lawyer accused Potter of cutting a deal hoping to spend less time in prison. But when the prosecutor asked Potter why he pleaded guilty, he said it was for his two sons.

"To continue to lie knowing that they would know that I was lying," said Potter, his voice choking. "Wasn't right."

Potter testified that he and Johnson met at a restaurant six years ago to plot a scheme to defraud Seattle schools through a small business development program Potter ran for the district. A state audit uncovered the fraud three years ago. It forced the late schools superintendent and her chief financial officer out. Now Potter is testifying against his one-time friend.

"No, I don't recall this letter.

Much of Potter's testimony today was under cross examination. David Adler, Johnson's attorney, repeatedly showed Potter letters allegedly praising Johnson for his work, proof, he said, Johnson was paid for work he actually did. Potter either didn't recall the correspondence or said they were simply stock letters sent to all vendors.

"So this letter is another falsity? It isn't true? The letter? asked Adler.

"No," replied Potter. "This is a boiler plate letter that went out to everyone and was a Survey Monkey."

Johnson's ex-girlfriend also pleaded guilty for her bit part in the crime. She is flying in from Las Vegas and expected to testify against him tomorrow.


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