Defense attorneys for the former president of Texas Southern
University want her trial on charges of misusing university funds moved, saying
heavy media coverage will prevent finding a fair jury.
Priscilla Slade faces two counts of misapplication of
fiduciary property over $200,000. Prosecutors allege Slade spent $87,000 on
furniture, $138,000 on landscaping and $61,000 on a security system for her
Jury selection in Slade’s trial is scheduled to begin Aug.
Motions filed by her attorneys this month say print and
television coverage “created a climate within this community where (Slade)
can no longer obtain an unbiased jury of her peers.” They’ve suggested
moving the trial to Travis County.
But prosecutors say they can find 12 unbiased people in Harris
County to hear the case.
A hearing on the change of venue request could be held later
Attorneys for Slade also want the judge to throw out some
evidence seized at her home last year. They says authorities seized a laptop
that wasn’t named in the search warrant. State District Judge Brock Thomas may
rule on the suppression request at a Wednesday hearing, prosecutors said.
Slade was the school’s president for more than six years
before she was fired last year after her spending was made public.
The allegations against Slade and others coincided with a
series of reports that revealed a pattern of financial mismanagement at the
school and prompted Gov. Rick Perry to call for a state takeover of the
historically black university.
TSU’s former chief
financial officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison in May for funneling
nearly $300,000 of public funds into secret accounts used by Slade.
Information from: Houston
– Associated Press
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