Local News

Wagstaff Pleads Guilty To Two Misdemeanors

Posted November 25, 2002 3:29 a.m. EST

— Jackie Wagstaff, a former Durham City Council member and school board member-elect, pleaded guilty in court Monday to two misdemeanors after she was charged with falsifying two city check requests.

A Durham judge ruled that Wagstaff must pay a $400 fine, perform 30 hours of community service and be on unsupervised probation next year.

The district attorney's office claims Wagstaff altered city documents to convince a bus company to take inner city children from North East Central Durham on a field trip. District Attorney Jim Hardin said he agreed to reduce the charges from felonies to misdemeanors because he believed there was no ill will. He said Wagstaff did not have a prior criminal record and there was no personal gain.

Hardin also admitted Wagstaff has done good deeds in the community. Afterward, Wagstaff said she respected the court's decision.

"Things could have been done differently, but at the same time, there was no personal gain for myself and it was done for the children," she said.

Donald Hughes, Wagstaff's son, said the last few weeks have been tough, but his mother's devotion to the community has remained strong.

"She's a committed person to the children and no matter what anyone else says about her, she's going to do and believe in what she says," he said.

There is no word as to whether Wagstaff's court appearance will affect her future status with the school board, but she said she wants to stay.

"When we talk about fit, maybe some people need to examine their own fitness because there are other issues there, so if my fitness becomes a questionable matter, then we'll have to question everyone's fitness and we don't want to go down that road," Wagstaff said.

"She has not been convicted of any felonies, does not have any felonies pending, therefore her fitness to stand on the school board should not even be in question," said Butch Williams, Wagstaff's attorney.

The school board is expected to meet Tuesday morning to discuss Wagstaff's future.