Tax preparer on stand in New Orleans district attorney trial

July 20, 2022 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A tax preparer at the center of the federal case against New Orleans district attorney Jason Williams took the stand Wednesday in Williams’ trial.

The trial began Monday with jury selection. Freshly seated jurors heard opening statements Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, news outlets reported, jurors began hearing from Henry Timothy, who is cooperating with prosecutors and has pleaded guilty to a single tax charge.

Prosecutors say Williams and Nicole Burdett, who was an attorney in Williams’ law practice, pressured Timothy to fraudulently reduce Williams’ tax liability over a five-year period. Defense lawyers say the two were victims of Timothy.

Williams has long argued that he was singled out for prosecution for political reasons.

“I would come here and tell the truth,” Timothy said on the stand when asked what he had agreed to with prosecutors, according to WWL-TV. Timothy said he felt increasing pressure from Burdett and Williams to lower the amount of tax Williams owed, according to WDSU-TV.

A defense lawyer before he became the city’s top prosecutor, Williams was president of the New Orleans City Council when he was indicted in June 2020. He was elected district attorney that December with support from criminal justice reform advocates.