New Orleans DA-Elect Loses Offer to Avoid Tax Evasion Lawsuit | Louisiana News
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A federal judge has refused to dismiss pending tax evasion charges against Orleans Parish Attorney Jason Williams.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman on Friday dismissed a motion by Williams and his attorney, Nicole Burdett, to dismiss the 11-count indictment against them based on their “vindictive” prosecution allegations and “selective”. In an 85-page order, Feldman found no evidence that federal prosecutors chose them to bar Williams from holding public office, The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported.
“Has clear evidence been presented to support the theory that the decision to prosecute Jason Williams was based on a desire to prevent him from exercising his right to hold and run for public office?” No. Or that it is black? No, ”Feldman wrote.
The ruling removes one of the last big hurdles for prosecutors in the Western District of Louisiana as they seek to try Williams, now a member of city council, and Burdett in federal court in New Orleans. The US attorney’s office in New Orleans has withdrawn from the case.
A trial was scheduled to begin Monday, the same day Williams becomes chief prosecutor for New Orleans, but has been postponed for at least two months under a court order regarding the pandemic.
The indictment alleges Williams and Burdette conspired to inflate Williams’ business expenses by more than $ 700,000 over five tax years, which prosecutors say saved him more than $ 200,000. $. He also alleges that Williams failed to complete the appropriate tax forms to report cash receipts.
Williams and Burdette both pleaded not guilty while claiming that it was Henry Timothy, their tax preparer, who took the excessive deductions on his own, while posing as a CPA. Timothy claimed Williams, through Burdett, pressured him to inflate the company’s write-offs.
IRS records show that Timothy took equally large deductions for hundreds of his other business clients, and Feldman noted that Williams and Burdett were the only ones among those clients to be sued for them.
Timothy has pleaded guilty to tax evasion this week, for rigging his own taxes, and is cooperating with prosecutors in their case against Williams and Burdett.
Feldman has not set a new trial date.
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