- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2005

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Two months of testimony concluded yesterday in the trial of three former Washington Teachers Union officials accused of participating in a scheme to embezzle about $5 million in union dues.

Jurors now will hear two days of closing arguments before starting deliberations, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon said.

The final witness in the case, paralegal Jonathan Labukas, yesterday verified numerous checks and bank statements of former union office manager Gwendolyn M. Hemphill, 64, who is accused of using union money for personal purchases.

Former union Treasurer James O. Baxter II, 50, is on trial for conspiracy and embezzling about $5 million. Accountant James A. Goosby Jr., 56, is on trial for helping hide the thefts.

Mrs. Hemphill also served on a re-election campaign for D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, a Democrat.

Jurors were not present most of yesterday morning while defense attorneys convinced Judge Leon to allow as evidence two charts that traced nearly all of the $5 million in thefts to former union President Barbara A. Bullock, 66, who pleaded guilty and is serving nine years in prison. Nancy Luque, attorney for Mrs. Hemphill, said her legal team “never accepted their charts.”

Prosecutors said they uncovered the scheme in 2002 when those involved tried to deduct $16 in dues from teachers’ paychecks, instead of the usual $1.60.

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