One felony tax fraud charge against DA Jason Williams dismissed, but 10 remain for July 18 trial

One of the 11 felony counts against Jason Williams and law partner Nicole Burdett has been...
One of the 11 felony counts against Jason Williams and law partner Nicole Burdett has been dismissed before their July 18 trial, court records show.
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 11:57 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - One of the 11 felony tax fraud counts faced by Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams and a law partner has been dismissed by a federal court a month before his scheduled trial, court records show.

The dismissal of Count 10 of the June 2020 indictment against Williams and law partner Nicole Burdett was granted Friday (June 10), according to a new court notation published late Tuesday.

The 10th count of the original indictment pertained to an alleged failure to properly report a $10,500 cash payment made to the Jason Rogers Williams and Associates law firm in January 2018, by a client identified only by initials D.B. in the charging document. But a court order signed by U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk grants federal prosecutors’ new motion to dismiss that count, after Williams and his legal team provided unspecified evidence during a pretrial conference in the judge’s chambers last Wednesday (June 8).

Williams and Burdett are scheduled to stand trial July 18 on 10 remaining felony counts.

The remaining counts include one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, five counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent tax returns, and four remaining counts of failing to file forms reporting cash payments received in the trade of business.

The four other cash payments allegedly received from clients by Williams’ law firm, but not reported on tax returns, range in amounts between $11,116 and $15,000, according to the indictment.

They are part of a case in which federal authorities allege that Williams and Burdett conspired with Westwego tax preparer Henry Timothy to inflate business expenses and hide cash income by more than $700,000, in order to create a fraudulent tax savings to the firm of more than $200,000.

Timothy already has pleaded guilty to a tax fraud charge and is expected to testify against Williams and Burdett at trial.

Conviction on even one of the remaining 10 felony counts would provide cause for Williams and Burdett to be stripped of their licenses to practice law in Louisiana. That, in turn, would prompt the removal of Williams as District Attorney.

In a previous court filing in the case, federal prosecutors said Williams “has an extensive history with the IRS that spans nearly two decades,” and that by 2011 he owed more than $92,000 in outstanding taxes and penalties. The charges unfurled in the June 2020 indictment addressed only alleged crimes in the 2013-17 tax years.

But even since that indictment, Williams’ tax troubles have continued. Fox 8′s Lee Zurik was the first to report on May 18 that the IRS had just filed a new, unrelated tax lien against Williams’ property in an effort to collect unpaid income taxes from 2019.

A final pretrial evidentiary hearing is scheduled in Africk’s courtroom Wednesday at 2 p.m.

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