Judge refuses to toss Democrat's tax convictions

June 26, 2013

The Associated Press

Former Cook Country Commissioner William Beavers.

A federal judge in Chicago has refused to toss a former Cook County commissioner's tax-evasion convictions on grounds his jury had no African-American males.

The ruling came at a post-trial hearing Wednesday for once-powerful Democrat Williams Beavers.

Beavers is black and had argued that the jury selection was fundamentally flawed.

A jury of 10 whites, one Hispanic and one African-American female convicted Beavers early this year of using campaign money to gamble without reporting it as income.

Judge James Zagel took issue with the defense's emphasis on an absence of African-American jurors. He said there's an "African-American" category under rules meant to promote racially balanced juries but no "African-American males" category.

Zagel set sentencing for Sept. 25. Beavers faces a maximum three-year prison term on each of four tax-evasion counts.