ATHENS, Ga., — Some are calling it Jim Donnan’s biggest win.
The former Marshall University and University of Georgia head football coach was found not guilty Friday in a Georgia federal courtroom on 41 criminal counts. The jury didn’t believe Donnan operated a fraudulent investor scheme. The 69-year-old Donnan walked out of the courtroom a free man.
Federal prosecutors alleged Donnan and Greg Crabtree of Proctorville, Ohio, operated the scheme from 2007-2010 under GLC Limited, a business that dealt in wholesale and closeout merchandise. Federal prosecutors alleged Donnan recruited former players, coaches and others to become part of investment but never came through on promised profits. Prosecutors said Donnan then tried to save the company once it was going under.
Reporter Curtis Johnson with the Huntington Herald-Dispatch covered the trial from start to finish in Athens, Georgia. He said Friday on MetroNews Talkline before the verdict was returned Donnan’s defense was simple.
“The defense basically argues that Donnan had no idea of what was happening. (They said) Greg Crabtree was the one paying investors with investment money and that Donnan was unaware of this the whole time,” Johnson said.
Donnan did not take the stand during the trial but Crabtree did. He cut an earlier plea deal with prosecutors in exchange for his testimony but the jury didn’t buy it. The jury foreman told Johnson and other reporters after the verdict was read that federal prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence against Donnan.
Donnan was the head coach at Marshall from 1990-1995.