US judge orders retrial in tax fraud case
06 June 2012
Posted by: SAIT Technical
News 24 (SAPA)
New York - A federal judge ordered a new trial for
three of four people convicted in the largest tax fraud prosecution in US
history, saying a "pathological liar” who served as a juror had corrupted the
US District Judge William H Pauley III said the
juror had spoiled a three-month trial that included 41 witnesses and 1 300 exhibits
and produced 22 million documents and 9 200 pages of trial transcript. He noted
that the courts disbursed $110 569 for attendance and travel fees and jury
meals during the trial.
At trial, a prosecutor said the defendants created
tax shelters that benefited some of the "most well-heeled, richest investors in
the world”, including the late sports entrepreneur Lamar Hunt, trust fund
recipients, investors, a grandson of the late industrialist Armand Hammer and a
man who was one of the earliest investors in Microsoft Corp.
The trial ended a year ago with convictions of two
prominent lawyers - Paul M Daugerdas, and Donna M Guerin - along with Denis M
Field, the former chief executive officer of the accounting firm BDO Seidman
and former head of its national tax practice.
David Parse, a lawyer who also was convicted, will
not get a new trial because his lawyers knew that the juror had lied about her
background before the end of the trial but failed to inform the judge in time
to replace her, the judge said.
"They gambled on the jury they had,” the judge
wrote. "An attorney’s duty to inform the court about suspected juror misconduct
trumps all other professional obligations, including those owed a client.”
The judge said he was ordering a new trial for the
others because one juror made a "calculated, criminal decision to get on the
jury” and made "breathtaking” lies about her background to do so.
He said the juror was a suspended attorney who hid
her legal background, personal injury lawsuit filings, criminal records for
herself and her husband and other facts, revealing a pattern of "sweeping
He called the juror "a pathological liar who does
not know the difference between truth and lie” and urged the government to
prosecute her for perjury, saying it had "a strong incentive to punish such
conduct and deter others”.
He said she made "deliberate and intentional lies”,
eventually confessing that she wanted to make herself more "marketable” as a
The judge said he was left with no option but to
order a new trial when the juror revealed at a hearing after the trial that she
believed most attorneys were crooks, "a direct statement of bias against the
"We are, of course, pleased with Judge Pauley’s
ruling. We share his ire that a juror’s dishonesty has been so injurious to the
criminal justice process,” Charles Sklarsky, a lawyer for Daugerdas, said in
response to a request for comment.
Daugerdas, the former head of the Chicago office of
the Jenkens & Gilchrist law firm and its tax practice, was described by
prosecutors at trial as the mastermind of the tax scheme.
Sharon McCarthy, a lawyer for Field, said his legal
team was grateful for the ruling because the juror’s lies were breathtaking.
"To have allowed this tainted verdict to stand
would have been extremely unjust,” she said.
Mark L Rotert, a lawyer for Guerin, said he was "pleased
by the court’s ruling”.
A lawyer for Parse did not immediately respond to a
request for comment. The government said it had no comment.