NEW ORLEANS — Jason Williams didn’t have much to say as he exited the Federal Courthouse Monday afternoon, only that he was feeling confident going into his trial.
“Very,” Williams said.
Williams and his business partner, Nicole Burdett, are charged in a 10-count federal indictment of tax fraud.
The feds allege the pair purposely overstated their law firm’s businesses expenses by $700,000.
Opening statements will begin after jury selection, which resumes Tuesday.
Here are three things we’re watching as the trial unfolds:
First, we’ll be watching the makeup of the final panel of jurors. Monday morning, attorneys began questioning a pool of 94 potential jurors, and only 15 of them said they were from Orleans Parish.
The court will have to choose 12 jurors and four alternates in total for the final panel.
Second, we’re watching the defense strategy. Former U.S. Attorney Harry Rosenberg says Williams and Burdett’s attorneys are likely to blame their tax preparer, Henry Timothy, saying they knew nothing about the fraud.
“The initial and the primary one of we relied upon this tax preparer. We thought he was a CPA. He basically defrauded us, the defendants, and we were the ones who were bamboozled,” said Rosenberg.
Third, we’re watching to hear from Timothy himself.
He’s expected to be one of the government’s key witnesses. He’s pleaded guilty to falsifying his own tax returns in a separate case. And an expert CPA is expected to testify that Timothy falsified other client’s taxes, too.
But prosecutors will have to convince jurors that Burdett and Williams intended to break the law with each count. Williams said as he arrived in court Monday that he’s ready to prove his innocence.