Cook County Commissioner William Beavers has decided not to take the witness stand at his federal tax evasion trial.
While Beavers had promised to the news media that he would testify, his attorneys had not told U.S. District Judge James Zagel for certain that he would take the stand.
Earlier in the day, the Beavers defense hit a snag when Zagel raised serious questions about whether the first defense witness was qualified or reliable enough.
The defense had called the accountant, Barry Gershinzon, as an expert to talk about Beavers' tax returns and campaign records. About 30 minutes into his testimony, Zagel asked the jury to leave the courtroom so he could find out further exactly what kind of answers the CPA intended to give the jury.
The judge did not like what he heard.
"I have concerns about the witness' competency to testify," Zagel said to the packed courtroom.
Gershinzon appeared somewhat stunned by the judge's conclusion.
Zagel said he was far from convinced that Gershinzon could refrain from testifying about what Beavers had told him about his taxes as the judge instructed.
The judge instructed the defense to come up with a list of what further questions they wanted to ask the accountant so he could decide how much further he could be questioned.
Gershinzon returned to the stand in the afternoon to continue his testimony.
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