ZURIK: New tax issues for Orleans D.A. Jason Williams

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams is just months away from a federal tax fraud trial, but now he faces even more tax issues.

In 2019, the IRS says Williams failed to pay nearly $274,000 in income taxes. Wednesday afternoon, the IRS filed a federal tax lien, alleging Williams and his wife failed to pay a 1040 income tax return, and owe that money for the 2019 tax year.

FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti says this could complicate Williams’ legal troubles.

“It’s significant, because number one, it’s a significant amount of money. But number two, it shows a pattern of behavior,” said Raspanti.

Williams is two months away from a federal trial where prosecutors allege, over five years, he inflated his business deductions by $720,000, reducing the amount of money he paid to the IRS.

That indictment covers from 2013 to 2017, but the new tax lien falls outside that scope, and involves Williams’ 2019 tax filings.

“It can impact the case. It’s not going to be added as a count. The only way they would add it is to continue the trial, and I don’t even know if [Judge] Lance Africk is going to allow that. The judge I think wants to get this thing going. But the issue is really going to be how much are they going to be able to talk about this under Rule of evidence 404 B, I believe is the applicable one, which is going to show the pattern of behavior? And even though it’s not charged, they’re going to want to be able to talk about it,” said Raspanti.

Williams wasn’t sworn in as District Attorney until 2021, but in 2019, he was running for office, and still sat on the New Orleans City Council, and also operated a private law firm.

The Federal tax fraud trial is scheduled to start on July 18. Williams said he plans to go to trial, saying he did nothing wrong.

“Well, don’t ever forget, he ran with this over his head, so he’s used to this type of pressure, he seems to thrive on it,” said Raspanti. “But when the rubber is going to meet the road is going to be in two months.”

FOX 8 reached out to Williams’ attorney for a response to the new filing but didn’t hear back.

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