Prosecution rests, testimony to continue in Price Lab trial - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Prosecution rests, testimony to continue in Price Lab trial

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Individuals are accused of tampering with records and falsifying addresses to gain admittance and reduce tuition to the school in Cedar Falls.  The charges were first announced in July 2009.  A state audit showed a discrepancy in registration fees for nine families who had kids in the school.  This trial is for the first five defendants.

The state rested its case Thursday.  The defense then presented a motion to acquit the defendants.  The judge denied that motion.  So the defense then started to present its case, calling some high profile witnesses to the stand.

As the defense opened its case, attorneys first called Bridgitte Wagoner to the stand.  Wagoner previously served in several capacities at Price Lab School, finally as interim director.  She testified that there were occasions when some people had gotten in to the school without living in the designated zones, and that the then-director Dave Smith had the final say on who got in.

"Well if that's the case, if Dave Smith had the authority to enroll anyone he wanted, why not just use their actual address?" said Iowa Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown.

"I have no idea why.  I don't know," Wagoner said.

UNI's former dean of the college of education, Bill Callahan, and current president Ben Allen also testified that Dave Smith did have authority over enrollments and their interaction with Smith was relatively limited.  The last witness called Thursday was Todd Eastman, the first of the defendants to testify.  His kids were enrolled in Price Lab for two years under a Waterloo address before Eastman says Dave Smith asked him to change it to a location within the school's attendance zones.

"He first of all wanted me to ask my brother if I could use his address for internal reporting purposes for the school only, and if we could receive one or two pieces of mail there, one from the school and one additional out source other than the school," Eastman said.

Eastman also said he and Smith talked about the audit of Price Lab.  And Eastman says Smith told him to tell authorities that he was living at the address reported to the school because he and his wife had separated, when that was not indeed the fact.

And that's about where Eastman's testimony left off.  The prosecutor, Scott Brown, had yet to cross-examine Eastman as of late Thursday afternoon.  The remaining witnesses, including the other four defendants, are likely to take the stand Friday.  Closing arguments should follow those testimonies, putting the case in the jury's hands.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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