Linda Schrenko Trial Preview

By: Laurie Ott
By: Laurie Ott

The trial of former Georgia state school superintendent Linda Schrenko begins May 1, 2006 in Atlanta.

News 12 investigated Schrenko's spending a year before the former school official was charged.

Prosecutors say it's a case of following the money--money they say Linda Schrenko stole from you and put into her failed campaign for governor...and a face-lift.

Once a rising star in the GOP, Schrenko now finds herself a political outcast...and facing the possibility of a long prison sentence.

Here's what Linda Schrenko told me back in August of 2003, at the very start of our investigation into her spending. I asked her about the state audit that found that the hundreds of thousands of she spent had paid for nothing.

"I don't know anything about that. I honestly do not, because services were delivered," Schrenko said.

One year after our story aired, federal prosecutors saw it differently.

Federal investigators say you helped pay for a $9300 face-lift for Ms. Schrenko.

Prosecutors say the money intended to help school children of Georgia was funneled into offshore accounts and then redirected to Ms. Schrenko's gubernatorial campaign.

January 10, 2005, Merle Temple, once Schrenko's right hand man, pled guilty to 3 charges of theft, wire fraud and conspiracy.

He will now testify against Schrenko.

Prosecutors say it was a blatant misuse of your money.

Former state school board chair Cathy Henson says she feels vindicated.

"Schrenko stole money from the children she was elected to protect," she says.

Schrenko's attorney, Pete Theodocian, maintains his client's innocence.

"We're happy with our case and feel like we're headed in the right direction and look forward to going to court."

As for what the defense strategy might be, former US Attorney Jerry Froelich offered this possibility: "Normally in a case like this you admit to as many facts as you can and then deny knowledge."

Schrenko and her co-defendants' trial begins Monday at 9 in the federal courthouse in Atlanta.

News 12 will be there to bring you complete coverage.


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