Beavers Pleads Not Guilty, Lashes Out at Accuser

A Cook County commissioner accused of tax fraud pleaded not guilty to the charges and unloaded on his accuser Friday during an appearance in federal court.

William Beavers, 77, is accused of using thousands of dollars from campaign accounts for personal use. In a brief appearance before Judge James Zagel, the same judge who heard both of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's federal corruption trials, Beavers denied the charges.

"I do not owe," he told reporters after his appearance in Zagel's courtroom.

He then lashed out out at U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, calling him a "wild man on a train" who "needs to be stopped."

"He has caused three deaths -- Michael Scott, Orlando Jones and Chris Kelly -- with these Gestapo-type tactics that he used to try to make them tell on their friends. And he's on the short list for the FBI. That would be the worst thing that could ever happen. He would be worse than J. Edgar Hoover," said Beavers.

Scott, Jones and Kelly all committed suicide while being investigated by authorities or after already having been convicted of wrongdoing.

Beavers maintains the indictment brought against him is retaliation because he refused to wear a wire on fellow Commissioner John Daley.

"I don't know what they wanted John Daley for. I wouldn't even go into it. When they said 'John Daley,' I cut them off," said Beavers. "If you're telling the truth, the prosecutor can prosecute you all he wants to. ... I don't owe no taxes."

Fitzgerald last week refused to comment on that allegation or say whether the investigation that led to Beavers' indictment was part of a broader political corruption probe.   
A person in John Daley's office said Friday that the commissioner would have no comment.

Beavers' attorney, Sam Adam Jr. -- who also represented Blagojevich in his first trial and won the acquittal of R&B superstar R. Kelly on child pornography charges -- said the evidence will show that Beavers either repaid all the money to his campaign funds or reported it to the IRS.

Each count against Beavers carries a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

He was released on own recognizance. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 6. 

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