Burt testifies in his own defense in Price Lab trial - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Burt testifies in his own defense in Price Lab trial

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A Waterloo firefighter and former state representative Kerry Burt's records tampering trial continues.  Burt's accused of providing a false address to gain admission and pay cheaper tuition at Price Lab School in Cedar Falls. 

Thursday, he took the stand in his own defense.  Before he was called to testify, the defense called several former Price Lab employees.  Some of them testified there had been multiple occasions when parents had filed addresses in the school's attendance zone in order for their kids to be admitted, even if they didn't live there.  And often, the school didn't check to verify whether students actually stayed at those addresses.  

When Burt took the stand, he testified he only followed instructions by the school's former director, Dave Smith, so his son could attend Price Lab.  And that meant reporting his niece's address, because she and her family did live in the zone.

"Isn't it true that you made the choice to write down the address of 1815 Franklin Street?  That was your choice, right Mr. Burt?" said prosecutor Iowa Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown.

"Under direction, yes," Burt said.

"Do you always do everything that you're told to do?"  Brown said.

"Not everything," Burt said.

"So you could've told Dave Smith, 'This is wrong.  I'm not going to put down an address that's false," said Brown.

"I could have," said Burt.

"But you chose not to do that," Brown said.

"In fact, I asked him, 'Are you sure?'" Burt said.

The prosecutor argues the school's director didn't have the ability to break the law or allow anyone else to break the law.  So the state says by Burt simply reporting an incorrect address, he is indeed guilty of records tampering.

But the defense maintains Burt didn't know it was a crime, nor did he intend to deceive anyone about where he and his children actually lived.

The defense has one final witness who will take the stand Friday morning.  The case will then be handed over to the jury.

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