Jury deliberations might start Wednesday in Donnan trial

An Athens jury might start deliberations on Wednesday in the case of former University of Georgia football coach Jim Donnan, who faces dozens of counts mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

Jurors will be asked to decide if Donnan conspired with a West Virginia man, Greg Crabtree, to fleece investors out of millions of dollars in an elaborate Ponzi scheme.

Donnan’s defense was that he, too, was a victim of Crabtree’s lies when he brought friends and family in to invest in Crabtree’s salvage liquidation company, GLC Ltd. Donnan was just a “dumb salesman,” in the words of defense lawyer Ed Tolley.

The prosecution concluded its case shortly before noon Tuesday. Donnan’s lawyers called three witnesses to the stand Tuesday afternoon. One more ‑ businessman Nelson Bowers ‑ will follow Wednesday morning.

Prosecutors built a case that although GLC supposedly bought and sold salvaged goods, in reality the company was using money from new investors to pay earlier investors ‑ a Ponzi scheme.

Crabtree entered into a plea agreement with government prosecutors in April and testified earlier in Donnan’s trial. He told the jury that Donnan knew he was using new investor money to pay previous investors, including many prominent Athenians and well-known college football and basketball coaches.

One of the last witnesses to testify Tuesday was Gilbert Milner, an Athens salvage expert who testified that GLC was sitting on a lot of valuable property when it went under.

Follow education reporter Lee Shearer at www.facebook.com/LeeShearerABH or https://twitter.com/LeeShearer.

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