Friday, February 10, 2006

Convicted teacher's union official now claims mental illness

This is a hoot. Gwendolyn M. Hemphill, former office manager of the Washington Teachers Union, was convicted on 23 counts of embezzling nearly $5 million in union dues from 1995 to 2002.

She and former union treasurer James O. Baxter, also convicted, used the money "to pay for designer clothing and fur coats, silverware and a champagne cooler, antiques and art objects, wigs, plasma televisions, dental implants, $77,181 worth of tickets to basketball games, and Louis Vuitton and Chanel handbags, among other items."

Now that she faces sentencing of up to 24 years in prison, she and her defense attorney have produced a psychiatrist who says that Mrs. Hemphill "suffers from a serious mental disease, including psychotic episodes in which she is confronted by 'a small, dark-skinned person with a thin Roman nose, small lips and a spear, who is dressed like a native African.'" Uh-huh, and his name is Shaka Zulu, no doubt.

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