Prosecutors argued that the case is about fairness and accountability and went on to say that defendants D.A. Williams and Nicole Burdett came up with the scheme to defraud the U.S. Treasury of more than $200,000 in taxes.
Defense attorneys struck back, saying that Williams and Burdett did not know about the scheme and instead, it was misplaced trust in their tax preparer, Henry Timothy, who they say cheated on his own taxes.
According to the indictment, Williams and Burdett conspired to reduce Williams’ tax liability by classifying personal expenses as business expenses. Both were offered plea deals but neither accepted an offer.
The opening statements came almost immediately after a jury was selected for the case. Earlier in the day, Judge Lance Africk along with defense and prosecution attorneys spent the morning interviewing potential jurors from 13 parishes across Louisiana. One-by-one, each candidate was taken behind closed doors in the Judge’s Chambers for questions.
Around 11 Tuesday morning, officials were only on number 50 out of the 92 candidates with only two selected to serve.
As District Attorney Jason Williams was walking up Tuesday morning, WGNO asked Williams how confident he is feeling going into day two and he said he feels “amazing.”
Williams then said, “Both judges are amazing and jury selection is going well.”
He didn’t reply when asked who is running the DA’s Office while the trial goes, nor did he give us any insight on his defense for the trial.
Williams says he’s “confident” entering second day of tax fraud trial
“I wish we could have tried this case and gotten it behind us. It’s frustrating that it took this long but, I’m glad we are here,” said Jason Williams, District Attorney.
We also caught up with Burdett as she arrived for day two. When asked what her message was to anyone who believed she lied or cheated on taxes, she attempted to avoid the question but, we were able to hear briefly get a statement from her.
“Judge says we will handle all these matters in court,” said Nicole Burdett.
If Jason Williams is convicted, our WGNO legal analyst says, either an assistant D.A. will temporarily take over or a new D.A. for Orleans Parish could be appointed by the State Attorney General.
The trial continues on Wednesday and could last up to three weeks, according to the judge.