Will Beavers take the stand? What it could mean for his tax case

Before his tax evasion trial began, defendant William Beavers said he was “itching” to testify. The question is will he have the guts to do it now that the prosecution has rested its case against the Cook County Commissioner.

Tomorrow, the defense gets a crack at trying to tell the jury why the Chicago democrat with a lot of political juice over the years didn’t squander away hundreds of thousands of his campaign dollars at area casinos. The defense will do everything they can to show Beavers tried to pay it back.

78-year-old William Beavers is known to be outspoken on most any topic over the years but has been rendered speechless during his own trial thanks to Judge James Zagel and the gag order placed on the case.

The feds say the high roller with VIP status at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana wrote 100 checks to himself between 2006 and 2008. Almost every time, IRS agent Paul Ponzo said, those checks coincided with losing visits to the casino floor. Prosecutors tried to show the jury how invoices had been changed and check stubs altered to cover up the cooked books courtesy of Beavers himself.

The total loss during that two year period: $477,000. Federal prosecutors accuse Beavers of using his campaign money for personal use or to feed his gambling habit and never paying tax on the income. It’s a tax evasion case laid out carefully by an IRS agent over the past two days.

Only Beavers can make it unravel. The question is will he do it?

Taking the stand in a trial like this is always considered a risk for any defendant. If Beavers testifies and is later found guilty by a jury, it could mean more trouble down the road, specifically, in the sentencing phase. If a judge determines he lied on the stand, it could be used as a factor to increase his sentence.  It also opens up Beavers to impeachment.  It’s a legal term giving prosecutors an additional opportunity to prove the defendant is not telling the court the truth.

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