NEW ORLEANS ( Associated Press) — New Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams, elected as a corrections candidate in 2020 even though he faces tax charges, arrived in federal court Monday for jury selection in his trial.
Williams and Nicole Burdett, an attorney in their law practice, have been charged with conspiracy to defraud Williams’ taxes during a five-year period ending in 2017.
A defense attorney before becoming the city’s top prosecutor, Williams was chairman of the New Orleans City Council when he was convicted in June 2020. He was elected district attorney in December with the support of criminal justice reform advocates.
He was succeeded by Leon Cannizzaro, a staunch prosecutor and a frequent target of criticism from Williams, who did not seek re-election. Williams took office, facing a backlog of cases related to the pandemic and high expectations from criminal justice reform advocates.
There was also a growing violent crime problem that has not ended. And while Williams has drawn praise from reformers for her efforts to free the wrongdoers and re-examine the cases of those convicted under the now defunct law allowing for non-consensual jury decisions, she also drew criticism. is of.
When Williams announced that two 15-year-olds would be charged as adults with the highly publicized gunshots of a 52-year-old woman and her dog during a suspected carjacking attempt, some advocates called on her to return to a campaign. was accused. Promise in respect of juvenile offenders
Williams has said that the charges in the tax case were made by prosecutors for political reasons. His motion to dismiss him was rejected by a federal judge last year. US District Judge Martin Feldman said at the time that Williams’ attorneys failed to prove that federal prosecutors targeted Williams because he was a public official running for office or because Williams is black.
However, Feldman relied on the defense that the other clients of the tax preparer at the center of the case – Henry Timothy, who pleaded guilty to tax fraud – were not being prosecuted.