After they were indicted on Monday, Loudoun County Public Schools’ former superintendent and its current spokesperson appeared in a Virginia court Tuesday afternoon.
Scott Ziegler, who was fired last week, and spokesman Wade Byard, who has been placed on unpaid leave, were in Loudoun County Circuit Court one day after being indicted by a special grand jury.
Ziegler appeared with his attorney, who told the judge she would have pretrial motions in January and asked for a trial date in May. Ziegler was indicted on three misdemeanor counts — false publication, prohibited conduct and penalizing an employee for a court appearance. Byard has been indicted on one felony perjury count.
“At this point, I can’t address any specific charges, because neither my attorney nor myself have been given any indication of what I’ve been alleged to do … I plan on pleading not guilty,” said Byard in a brief statement to reporters outside the courthouse.
On Monday, Ziegler issued a written statement in which he said, “I am disappointed that an Attorney General-controlled, secret and one-sided process — which never once sought my testimony — has made such false and irresponsible accusations … I will vigorously defend myself.”
Both men were released on personal recognizance bonds. The judge set Jan. 5 as the date for pretrial motions to be filed on behalf of Ziegler and Jan. 26 for the motions to be argued in court.
Ziegler’s attorney and the office of the Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney have agreed that two of three counts against Ziegler would be consolidated at one trial, and the former school superintendent would be tried separately on the other count, with the first trial scheduled for May 22.
Byard’s next court date is Jan. 5 and his trial date is set for March.