CHICAGO — It was one gamble Bill Beavers didn't take: the Cook County Commissioner said Wednesday he would not testify at his tax evasion trial.
Beavers, a political heavyweight who also served a long stint as a Chicago alderman, is a VIP at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond. But taking the stand in his own defense, may have been too much of a risk.
"That's the decision I made," Beavers told Judge James Zagel Wednesday afternoon. "It's still my decision not to testify."
Beavers had publicly vowed to take the stand at trial.
But at the close of the fourth day of testimony in his federal tax evasion trial, the "hog with the big nuts," as Beavers has referred to himself, confirmed that he would not testify.
Beavers sat stone-faced this week and last as prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney and his defense team argued before the jury about whether Beavers was a tax cheater or devoted public servant.
Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office claim the "seasoned politician" routinely wrote himself checks from three different campaign funds, spending about $125,000 on "personal use" without reporting the income on his taxes. Some of that money was used for gambling, reportedly losing nearly $500,000 at the Horseshoe Casino over three years.
Beaver has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and openly accused the U.S. District Attorney's Office of targeting him for refusing to wear a wire against fellow county commissioner John Daley.