Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 - Beavers can talk about repayment *** Always an uphill climb
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*** UPDATED x1 - Beavers can talk about repayment *** Always an uphill climb

Friday, Nov 30, 2012

*** UPDATE *** Beavers can talk about his repayment if he testifies

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.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - shore - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 10:08 am:

    beavers, ford, smith, the 2 jacksons are all currently active cases for the feds right?

  2. - The Captain - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 10:26 am:

    So apparently the way a federal trial works is that the feds can act as recklessly as they want and never have to answer for their behavior. In what is supposed to be a government of checks and balances there is apparently no check on the US Attorneys and this is way out of balance. Beavers shouldn’t necessarily be exonerated by any of this but he should have the chance to present a defense of relevant facts and these are clearly relevant.

  3. - Anon - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 10:38 am:

    This is SOP for most prosecutions. I’m sure Beavers knew what the consequences of his not cooperating would be. Criminals are routinely given a pass of they cooperate with authorities and provide information or evidence against others. This is how most large drug conspiracy cases are developed.

  4. - walkinfool - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 10:53 am:

    Power corrupts.

  5. - MrJM - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 10:54 am:

    When was the last time that a CapFax subject slipped the Feds’ noose?

    Mike Mahoney?

    – MrJM

  6. - Atticus Finch - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 11:09 am:

    @ The Captain

    How is being approached by the Feds relevant evidence? The charges have nothing to do with that, they concern tax evasion. If he had never been approached by the Feds in the first place, the charges would be the same.

    He (allegedly) evaded taxes, he has been charged for evading taxes. He was offered a “get out of jail free card” and did not take it. Now he has to live with the consequences.

  7. - sam m - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 11:22 am:

    Stool pigeon? Aren’t our elected officials required to report illegal activities within the government? Perhaps morally obligated? Good for the Feds.

  8. - amalia - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 11:23 am:

    so looking forward to watching this one in action. Beavers is the ultimate self interested bully politician.

  9. - The Captain - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 11:25 am:

    Alleging that the charges were only brought as a punitive measure rather than on the merits of the case is relevant and should be up to a jury to decide.

    “If he had never been approached by the Feds in the first place, the charges would be the same.”

    He’s claiming exactly the opposite. He has some evidence to suggest the opposite may be true, that’s relevant.

  10. - 47th Ward - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 11:31 am:

    ===He has some evidence to suggest the opposite may be true, that’s relevant.===

    Yes, and the judge said he’d allow it if Beavers takes the witness stand.

    Of course, if he takes the stand, he’s open to cross examination about a host of other things, which he may not want to answer for. So it’s a risk his defense team is going to have to weigh.

  11. - Atticus Finch - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 11:44 am:

    @ The Captain

    A hypothetical situation claiming “punitive” motivation is still irrelevant. To issue an indictment, a grand jury had to have probable evidence presented to it in regards to tax evasion. In this case, the probable evidence was enough to secure an indictment for tax evasion.

    I don’t think someone who has probable evidence for charges against them, and then turns down an offer to get out of those charges, should then get to use that offer as evidence of abuse by the Feds. What matters is that the Feds have the ability to charge him based on evidence, not on a “I want to punish this man for not squealing” argument.

  12. - Carlos S. - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 11:47 am:

    If I were on the jury and heard evidence that the feds tried to get Beavers to cooperate in the criminal investigation of others and her refused, it would not make me less likely to convict him.

  13. - carbaby - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 12:04 pm:

    Long story short, Beavers would never have filed an amended tax return and paid taxes on that money had he not known the Feds were going to get him for it. Attempting to “correct” a crime after the crime has been committed does not negate the crime. For me this is simple logic- oh but wait we’re talking about Beavers.

  14. - dupage dan - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 12:29 pm:

    I have heard you could secure an indictment for a ham sandwich from a grand jury.

    Beavers is toast.

  15. - The Captain - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 12:36 pm:

    Oh please, you could indict a ham sandwich in this town.

  16. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 1:46 pm:

    –He (allegedly) evaded taxes, he has been charged for evading taxes. He was offered a “get out of jail free card” and did not take it. Now he has to live with the consequences. –

    Why do the feds have the power to offer a “get out of jail free” card? They’re prosecutors, not judge and jury.

    The facts are, it seems, they would have chosen not to prosecute Beavers for these horrible crimes against the republic if he wore a wire to get a bigger fish, AKA a bigger press release, or a bigger headline.

    How is that not relevant?

    Explain the ethics to me: You play ball and make us look good, and we look the other way. You don’t, and we ruin you.

    The feds lined up Chris Kelly four times. They would never have bothered him if they didn’t think he could help land the bigger fish, Blago. They drove him to his grave.

    In the past week, if you believe the reports, the feds compelled the resignation of a a duly elected congressman with threats of prosecuting his wife.

    Remember, the feds were on Trips over the Senate seat. Apparently, they couldn’t find enough there, so they went after him on something else — “going down every rat hole,” leading to the threats against his wife.

    And, as of now, Trips has not been charged with anything.

    Seriously, who scares you more: guys like Beavers and Trips, or personally ambitious, unelected prosecutors armed with the unlimited power of the federal government?

  17. - 47th Ward - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 2:00 pm:

    ===The facts are, it seems, they would have chosen not to prosecute Beavers for these horrible crimes against the republic if he wore a wire to get a bigger fish, AKA a bigger press release, or a bigger headline.

    How is that not relevant?===

    It is relevant. The better question is, given trial procedure, how does the defense introduce this fact? The judge has signaled that if Beavers testifies, he might be able to bring it up.

    It doesn’t matter what all the facts are, it only matters which facts the jury is allowed to hear. Therein lies the rub.

  18. - Casey - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 3:42 pm:

    Seems like this would be a wide open, lawless town as it pertains to political corruption if not for the USDOJ.
    What exactly is Anita Alvarez and Lisa Madigan doing for their salaries ?

  19. - The Fox - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 4:24 pm:

    Zagel thinks his court is an adjunct of the prosecutors’ office and if he isn’t on the AG’s payroll, he’s being cheated out of an extra salary.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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