Posted at: 09/06/2013 11:05 AM

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Ex-educator not guilty in Atlanta cheating case

(AP) ATLANTA - A jury has found a former educator not guilty in the first trial connected to a cheating scandal at Atlanta schools.

The verdict clearing Tamara Cotman was announced Friday. Cotman was a former area director for Atlanta Public Schools. She had been accused of trying to influence a witness.

Cotman is among 35 former administrators and teachers who faced criminal charges for allegedly changing students’ answers on standardized tests.

The charges stem from a 2011 state investigation, which concluded that cheating occurred at 44 Atlanta schools so educators could avoid losing their jobs and earn bonuses.

Cotman’s former boss, ex-superintendent Beverly Hall, was indicted and is fighting the charges against her.

Cotman stood trial before the other defendants because her attorney requested a speedy trial.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)