*** UPDATE *** Beavers can talk about his repayment if he testifies…
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
A federal judge today ruled that Cook County Commissioner William Beavers can tell a jury that he amended his taxes and repaid a campaign fund after he learned of a federal investigation against him. […]
But U.S. District Court James Zagel said Beavers has a right to explain his reasons for amending the taxes to jurors so they can decide why he did it.
“The state of mind is crucial to the (jurors),” Zagel said.
But the judge gave careful instructions to Beavers attorney, Sheldon Sorosky, saying that the only way the jury can hear specifics about the repaid money and amended taxes is directly from Beavers if he takes the witness stand.
* When the feds go after you, they tend to go all out. Even if you pay the money back before you’re indicted, it won’t matter. For instance…
In the months after learning from federal agents that he was the focus of a tax evasion probe, Cook County Commissioner William Beavers amended his income taxes and repaid a sizable amount of money he had taken from his campaign fund, according to prosecutors.
After his indictment in February, Beavers released bank records showing the repayment and contended the records showed he had done nothing wrong.
But on Tuesday, days before the start of Beavers’ trial, federal prosecutors asked a judge to bar his legal team from presenting any of that evidence — a strike seemingly at the heart of the defense case.
In the court filing, the government outlined how Beavers paid thousands of dollars in additional taxes on the amended returns and repaid his campaign only after he learned of the investigation when federal agents approached him in April 2009.
Judge Zagel hasn’t yet ruled on that prosecutorial motion.
* And even if the feds admit they tried to get you to flip on powerful people and you refuse, that evidence can’t be used by your defense team…
Cook County Commissioner William Beavers is alleging that a letter sent to his attorneys from federal prosecutors corroborates what he has said from the day he was charged – that the government wanted him to cooperate against other high-ranking elected officials and then indicted him when he refused .
Beavers, who faces trial Monday on income tax charges, accused the U.S. Attorney’s office of a “vindictive prosecution” for filing the tax charges after his refusal to cooperate, according to a filing late Wednesday by Beavers’ legal team. […]
According to the defense filing, federal agents told Beavers about their criminal probe of him on April 21, 2009, and sought his cooperation. The filing suggested that the names of then-County Board President Todd Stroger and Commissioner John Daley were mentioned during the interview.
“I am not a stool pigeon,” one agent recalled Beavers declaring during the meeting.
Beavers’ attorneys also criticized the government for not revealing the contents of the interview until the eve of trial and accused them of withholding the information.
“Government agents approached him and asked him to cooperate against other public officials,” the filing reads. “When Beavers refused, in retribution, the government empanelled a grand jury and indicted him. The message from the government is clear: had Beavers cooperated, the charges would not have been brought. … The impropriety of the government is exacerbated by the late disclosure of the cooperation request via letter to the defense four days prior to trial.”
Judge Zagel ruled that Beavers might be able to talk about how he was approached if he takes the stand. Other than that, no way.