William Beavers pleads not guilty

March 2, 2012 5:22:31 PM PST
Cook County Commissioner William Beavers pleaded not guilty to federal tax fraud charges Friday.

Beavers is maintaining his innocence.

Commissioner Beavers says his records will show that any money he took from his campaign fund he either paid back or paid taxes on it. Also Friday, his lawyers displayed part of the evidence they say will prove that Beavers is telling the truth that the U.S. attorney tried to pressure him into being a stool pigeon.

The nattily-dressed, 77-year-old commissioner arrived at the Federal Building alone, 80 minutes before his appointed court time. He carried a large envelope that presumably contained evidence in the case.

Upstairs, his lawyer told Judge James Zagel That beavers would plead "not guilty" to the charges that he used campaign funds for personal expenses and did not claim the money as income. The judge allowed Beavers to remain free on his own recognizance.

"Those that don't talk go to the penitentiary, so I'm gonna talk," said Beavers.

Then, after his appearance, before his lawyers said a word, Beavers held court in the Dirksen lobby. He insisted that any money he took from his campaign fund, records will show, he either paid back legally or paid the taxes on it.

Then, Beavers accused U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of using Nazi-like tactics in his case and in past investigations.

"He has caused three deaths," said Beavers. "Michael Scott, Orlando Jones and Chris Kelley with these Gestapo-type tactics that he used to try to make them tell on their friends."

Beavers repeated his allegation that FBI agents tried to use the tax investigation to pressure him to secretly record fellow commissioner John Daley, the former mayor's younger brother.

"I don't know what they wanted John Daley for, OK? I wouldn't even go into it. When they said John Daley, I cut 'em off," said Beavers.

Then a Beavers attorney showed reporters a letter dated April 24, 2009, signed by Fitzgerald, confirming, they say, an FBI visit to the commissioner on the tax issue.

The defense lawyers asked why agents would involve themselves in an IRS matter unless there were other investigations involved.

"The truth is like a burning torch. The more you shake it, the brighter that flame gets. He is out here telling the truth, and he will be vindicated," said Beavers' attorney Sam Adam, Jr.

The U.S. attorney's office policy is not to comment on cases after indictments have been announced.

Commissioner Beavers remains free on his own recognizance. He vows to remain on the Cook County Board as his case proceeds.