DA Jason Williams Acquitted on All Counts of Federal Tax Fraud

District Attorney Jason Williams
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After a torturous six day trial and 16 hours of jury deliberations, New Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams walked out of federal court a free man today after a jury of his peers found him not guilty on all 10 counts of federal tax fraud. His co-defendant Nicole Burdett, a former law partner, was not so lucky. Although she too was found not guilty of the 10 tax fraud counts she shared with Williams, she was found guilty on four separate counts relating to her personal taxes. The jury must have felt that Burdett acted separately, independently from Williams, in falsifying her own returns. Burdett is thought to owe approximately $130,000. 

Clearly, federal prosecutors were unable to prove that Williams intentionally defrauded the government. Williams had alleged all along that he never instructed tax preparer Henry Timothy to file inaccurate returns. Throughout the years Williams’ law firm used Timothy to prepare the returns, Burdett served as the go-between. Although Timothy was the prosecution’s lead witness, the defense quickly shot holes in his testimony.

Once notified that the jury had finalized their decision, Burdett sat quietly and appeared to pray in anticipation of a favorable verdict. She and Williams both sobbed when her guilty verdicts were read. Judge Africk called on each juror to verify their decision and all agreed. Burdett could be sentenced on September 30. Though sentencing guidelines have not been revealed, it is possible that Burdett will spend some time in prison. Williams and Burdett are obviously close and chose to support each other throughout the indictment and trial.  

One of the statements from Williams’ attorneys that might have caused the jury to find him not guilty was that Williams would not walk away from his tax obligation but fully intended to pay back the federal government for taxes owed.  

Williams will now return to the District Attorney’s office to continue his historic role as a progressive prosecutor. He is currently laser-focused on prosecuting violent crimes and is working closely with other partners in the criminal justice system.   

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