The former beauty queen accused of faking cancer and pocketing proceeds from fundraisers to support medical bills will not be in court Wednesday, but made a statement through her attorney for the first time since charges were filed last week.
Brandi Weaver-Gates, 23, of Pleasant Gap, waived her preliminary hearing, scheduled for Wednesday morning, early. She was arrested last week, charged by state police with felony counts of theft by deception and receiving stolen property, and is currently held at Centre County Correctional Facility in lieu of $150,000 bail.
“Although Brandi’s incarcerated, she feels free,” Deb Lux, Weaver-Gates’ public defender, said Tuesday. “She’s liberated from the lies she’s been living. She’s truly sorry. She asks for forgiveness, although she understands many won’t find it in their hearts to do so.”
Waiving the hearing was the first step in Weaver-Gates assuming responsibility, Lux said, and her client will continue to cooperate during the legal process. Weaver-Gates has promised to pay all the money back, Lux said.
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People who had donated to Weaver-Gates started to reach out to state police after charges were formally filed and investigators said last week they anticipate additional charges being filed as people continue to step forward.
A total amount of money raised to support Weaver-Gates has yet to be determined, although investigators said four large fundraisers were held locally, one of which raised about $14,000.
Motive has not yet come up when she has talked with Weaver-Gates, Lux said.
“I’m going to ask her to pursue mental health evaluation, not to pursue a mental infirmity defense, but hopefully to get insight for the court and the community as to why this happened,” Lux said.
Weaver-Gates’s next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 16 for formal arraignment, Lux said. Weaver-Gates will not appear in person, but rather via teleconference from Centre County Correctional Facility.