SLADE NEW TRIAL DATE IS SET FOR MARCH 2008!

HOUSTON CHRONICLE’S BRIAN ROGERS REPORTS!

Ousted TSU President Priscilla Slade is set to be retried March 24 on charges that she spent university money on personal expenses, a judge ruled this morning.

State District Judge Brock Thomas gave Slade until Nov. 9 to decide on a lawyer, a move her defense team said was unnecessary.

Slade was represented by Mike DeGeurin in the two-month trial that ended a week ago in a mistrial after the jury said they were hopelessly deadlocked at 6 to 6.

DeGeurin said he would be representing Slade in her new trial for misapplication of fiduciary property of more than $200,000. If convicted, Slade faces a punishment ranging from probation to life in prison.

DeGeurin has maintained that no crime was committed, that Slade was using university money to enhance Texas Southern University’s image in the community and court donors. The state largest historically black university has long suffered financial hardship, testimony showed.

During weeks of testimony, prosecutors hammered Slade on expenses for furniture for her Missouri City home, custom renovations and landscaping for the $1.3 million Memorial Park home where she moved a month before the spending scandal rocked the cash strapped university.

Exhibits included a $40,000 set of fine china, stemware and silverware for 25 and pictures of a $9,000 sleigh bed with thousands of dollars worth of silk bedding

Jurors deliberated almost a week before being dismissed. The jury’s foreman said the jurors who voted not guilty needed to know more about how the checks and balances in the process were circumvented before convicting.

Assistant District Attorney Donna Goode has said a deal may be in the works for codefendants of Slade’s to testify against her in the new trial.

Slade’s Chief Financial Officer Quintin Wiggins was convicted in May in connection with the spending. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and remains eligible for shock probation, which could get him out of jail if a deal is made.

Slade’s other codefendant, Bruce Wilson is awaiting trial.

LINK: www.chron.com