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Spotsylvania School Board member arraigned on assault and battery charge

by | Jun 5, 2024 | ALLFFP, Courts and crime, Schools & Education, Spotsylvania

A Spotsylvania County School Board member will head to trial on a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery after arraignment Wednesday morning. 

Judge Richard McGrath set a trial date of July 1 at 9 a.m. in Spotsylvania General District Court for Nicole Cole, who represents the Battlefield District on the board. 

Cole is accused of slamming a door into the shoulder of school board member Lisa Phelps of the Lee Hill District. Phelps also accused Cole of extending her leg, causing Phelps to stumble during a closed session board meeting May 20. 

Cole was joined in court Wednesday by her mother, two sons, two friends and Courtland District school board member Carol Medawar. She is represented by Loudoun County-based attorney Charles King, who said after the arraignment that no assault took place. 

“Several witnesses said nothing happened,” King said. 

King noted during the brief hearing that approximately six witnesses would be called to testify. One of the defense witnesses is Spotsylvania School Board Attorney Micah Schwartz. 

Medawar also said she plans to testify. Medawar said she was in the closed session when the incident allegedly occurred. 

“I came today to support Nicole,” Medawar said. “She shouldn’t be dealing with this. None of us should be dealing with this.” 

King said the Spotsylvania Commonwealth’s Attorney office declined to get involved with the case.  

Cole was served a warrant last week. She denied the allegations, saying that the only physical contact between the two occurred inadvertently when Phelps walked into the room and hit the side of her foot while she was standing stationary. She said the alleged door-slamming is fabricated. 

Phelps stands by her version of events, and Berkeley District representative April Gillespie backed her claims during an interview with a Washington, D.C., news station. 

Phelps and Cole have clashed regularly. The most recent dustup came after Cole initiated a reprimand of Phelps for code of ethics violations. The reprimand was approved by the board but later overturned.

McGrath is the same judge who dismissed an assault claim by former Riverbend High School Principal Xavier Downs against the parent of a member of the school’s swim team. 

King and Medawar believe this case should meet a similar fate. 

“There was no assault,” Medawar said. “I will go on record saying there was no assault.”  

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