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Potter Pleads Not Guilty

Phyllis Fletcher

Silas Potter pled not guilty Thursday to stealing a quarter–million dollars from Seattle Public Schools. He had his first appearance on the charges in King County Superior Court. KUOW's Phyllis Fletcher reports.


A lawyer who spoke on Potter's behalf asked the judge to tell media to photograph and film Potter from the neck down only. He said photos of Potter in jailhouse clothes would only embarrass him, and make it hard to empanel a jury. The judge denied the request.

Potter walked in to the courtroom, and cameras snapped away.

The only word he spoke was "yes," when a prosecutor asked if his name was Silas Wardford Potter, Jr.

His alleged theft of a quarter–million dollars was part of a scheme the state auditor called the biggest example of fraud he's seen in his career. The total loss to the school district is estimated at $1.8 million. The Seattle School Board fired the superintendent and her financial chief over it.

In court, Potter's red inmate clothing hung from his body. His face is thinner and his beard is grayer than in November, when he was arrested after he missed his first scheduled arraignment.

Potter pled not guilty. The whole thing was over in three minutes.

Potter's next hearing is scheduled for January. Two accused accomplices have the same court date. They pled not guilty last month.

I'm Phyllis Fletcher, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2011, KUOW