The man who signed the checks that funded former TSU President Priscilla Slade’s extravagant lifestyle might be willing to testify against her at her next trial, his attorney said Tuesday.
But Quintin Wiggins, the former chief financial officer of Texas Southern University, would expect something in return for his testimony: “freedom,” attorney Stanley Schneider said.
Jurors never heard from Wiggins during Slade’s trial that ended Friday with an evenly divided jury and a mistrial on charges that she used state funds for personal gain. Afterward, jurors voiced frustration that prosecutors didn’t present enough testimony to detail how TSU’s spending operation functioned under Slade’s presidency.
Wiggins, sentenced in May to 10 years in prison for his part in the scandal, might be able to connect the dots, prosecutor Donna Goode said.
“At the time we went to trial, we didn’t feel it was necessary,” Goode said. “We’re willing to learn from experience. If it would have made the difference for the other six, who’s to say?”
Alternatively, she said, prosecutors could turn to Bruce Wilson, the school’s former head of purchasing, who is awaiting trial on a lesser felony charge of misusing funds. Goode said that either could be useful, but Wiggins was the one who worked closely with Slade during her seven-year tenure.
“If he is compelled or agrees to testify — her chief financial officer that she elevated time and time again, with increasing financial gain each time — she becomes associated with somebody who has a record and has been convicted of this crime,” Goode said. “I don’t think that he would be somebody that the defense would want to show up.”
“If I wanted Slade, I would have come to Wiggins,” said Schneider, who is handling Wiggins’ appeal but did not represent Wiggins at trial.
He said there were plea negotiations before Wiggins’ trial, but they broke down because he did not want to plead to a felony, even though prosecutors offered probation.
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