A judge ruled that Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson’s (11th) defense attorneys can show jurors his amended tax returns during his federal criminal trial, which appears to be on track for Feb. 4.
U.S. District Judge Franklin Valderrama made the ruling at a hearing Friday and said his explanation would appear in a later written ruling.
Prosecutors have said Thompson amended his tax returns in April 2019, well after he was aware of a government investigation and “had retained criminal counsel.” They said agents visited Thompson Dec. 3, 2018.
Thompson’s lawyers said the alderman decided to amend his returns before he knew he was under investigation for anything, saying he had only been told of an investigation into failed Washington Federal Bank for Savings, a Bridgeport bank that was shut down over what authorities said was massive fraud.
The amended tax returns were the subject of a hearing earlier this week.
During Friday’s hearing, Valderrama laid out COVID-19 protocols for Thompson’s trial after checking to see whether any lawyer would ask that the trial be delayed due to the latest surge of the virus. None did.
The judge said lawyers and witnesses would be allowed to remove their masks only at certain times during the trial — and only if they’ve been fully vaccinated and received a booster shot.
The Dirksen Federal Courthouse’s 25th-floor ceremonial courtroom, its largest, will be used as an overflow room where members of the public can view the proceedings.
Thompson is charged with filing false income tax returns and lying to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. His indictment says he received three payments totaling $219,000 from Washington Federal between 2011 and 2014, through a purported loan and other unsecured payments.
Prosecutors say he made only one payment on a loan but failed to pay any interest. Then, after federal regulators shut down the bank in December 2017, the FDIC tried to collect the money from Thompson, and prosecutors say the Bridgeport alderman lied about how much he owed.
Thompson claimed on his federal tax returns for the years 2013 through 2017 to have paid more than $170,000 in mortgage interest after Washington Federal sent IRS forms to him that falsely accounted for mortgage interest payments, according to prosecutors.
Thompson’s defense attorney has said Thompson deducted $50,000 in error.
Regulators shut down Washington Federal less than two weeks after its president, John Gembara, was found dead, seated in a chair, a rope around his neck, in the main bedroom of the $1 million Park Ridge home of a bank customer, Marek Matczuk, who is among 14 others who face charges in connection with the failed bank.