New Orleans district attorney goes on trial over federal tax-fraud charges
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Jury selection began Monday in the federal tax-fraud trial of Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams in New Orleans.
Prosecutors allege that Williams and a former lawyer at his private law firm overstated business expenses by $720,000 over a five-year period and failed to report cash payments of $55,500. The alleged fraud resulted in more than $200,000 in tax savings for Williams.
Williams was on the city council at the time of the indictment in June 2020. He ran for district attorney on a reform platform and won in December 2020. His New Orleans law firm was Jason Rogers Williams & Associates.
Prosecutors dropped one of the counts relating to overstating income in advance of trial, according to 4WWL. Before the trial began, prosecutors offered to drop nine counts and allow Williams and a co-defendant to plead guilty to one felony, according to NOLA.com. The offers were rejected.
Prosecutors allege that Williams and his co-defendant, Nicole E. Burdett of Kenner, Louisiana, conspired with their tax preparer, Henry Timothy, to reduce their tax liability. Timothy has already pleaded guilty to one count of making a false return.
Williams and Burdett contend that Timothy did not have their permission to overstate expenses, and he falsely claimed to be a certified public accountant. They say they were the only clients of Timothy’s who were prosecuted, although he prepared false returns for other clients, as well.
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