Defense attorney says ex-UNC professor will plead not guilty to charge involving no-show class

A defense attorney says a former professor at the center of an academic scandal involving athletes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will plead not guilty to a felony fraud charge.

Julius Nyang'Oro, a former chairman of the school's Department of African and Afro-American Studies, is accused of receiving $12,000 for a lecture course while holding no classes.

After an initial hearing Tuesday, attorney Bill Thomas said Nyang'Oro would plead not guilty. He says it was an "unfortunate decision" to charge Nyang'Oro.

A trial date of Dec. 17 was set for Nyang'Oro, who turned himself in to authorities earlier Tuesday. He was released on $30,000 bond.

He could face up to 10 months in prison if convicted. The university said it recouped the $12,000.