Lawyers for Reality TV Stars Todd and Julie Chrisley Challenge Convictions and Sentences in Federal Appeals Court

Lawyers for Reality TV Stars Todd and Julie Chrisley Challenge Convictions and Sentences in Federal Appeals Court

Lawyers representing reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley, who are currently serving prison sentences for federal charges of bank fraud and tax evasion, have presented arguments challenging various aspects of their convictions and sentences in a federal appeals court. The Chrisleys gained fame through their show “Chrisley Knows Best,” which documented their close-knit family’s activities. However, prosecutors alleged that the couple engaged in an extensive bank fraud scheme and concealed their earnings from tax authorities while flaunting their extravagant lifestyle.

Accompanied by over a dozen supporters, two of the Chrisleys’ children, Savannah and Chase, attended the hearing before a three-judge panel at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Following the hearing, Savannah Chrisley spoke to reporters, stating that her parents are doing their best and hoping that the proceedings will bring them closer to returning home. She emphasized the unity of their family during this challenging time.

The Chrisleys were initially charged in August 2019 and were found guilty by a jury in June 2022. The charges included conspiring to defraud community banks of over $30 million in fraudulent loans, tax evasion, wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and other related offenses. Todd Chrisley, 56, is currently serving his sentence at a minimum-security federal prison camp in Pensacola, Florida, with a release date set for October 2032. Julie Chrisley, 51, is incarcerated at a facility in Lexington, Kentucky, and is scheduled for release in July 2028. Their accountant, Peter Tarantino, 61, who was also convicted, is serving his sentence at a minimum-security federal prison camp in Montgomery, Alabama, with a release date in September of next year.

Prosecutors alleged that the Chrisleys abandoned their responsibility to repay loans when Todd Chrisley filed for bankruptcy. During their bankruptcy proceedings, they launched their reality show and showcased their wealth and lifestyle to the public while concealing their earnings from the IRS, according to the prosecution. The defense, represented by lawyer Alex Little, argued that an IRS officer provided false testimony regarding the couple’s outstanding taxes during the trial. Little claimed that the prosecution knowingly presented and failed to correct this false information. Prosecutor Annalise Peters refuted this assertion, stating that the IRS officer and the prosecution were unaware of certain tax payments made by the Chrisleys at the time of her testimony. However, Peters acknowledged that the couple still owed some taxes during the trial.

During the hearing, Circuit Judge Robin Rosenbaum expressed skepticism regarding the defense’s claim of a conspiracy between prosecutors and the IRS officer, considering the evidence presented as speculative. The defense also argued that the trial judge erred in admitting certain evidence without requiring prosecutors to demonstrate its lawful acquisition. Additionally, they contended that the prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence to support the convictions for tax evasion, conspiracy, and Julie Chrisley’s alleged participation in bank fraud. The defense further criticized the judge’s decision to order restitution and asset forfeiture.

The defense lawyers requested Todd Chrisley’s acquittal on the tax evasion and conspiracy charges, along with a new trial on the remaining counts. Alternatively, they urged the appeals court to remand the case to the trial court for a hearing on the claims of false testimony and improper evidence admission. For Julie Chrisley, the defense sought acquittal on the five bank fraud charges and the removal of her sentence, including the $17.2 million restitution order, to be resentenced on those counts.

Prosecutors countered the defense’s arguments, asserting that there was sufficient evidence presented during the trial to support the charges and jury verdicts. They maintained that the evidence was lawfully obtained and admitted. Peters emphasized that the IRS officer’s testimony did not impact the jury’s verdict and highlighted that subsequent actions, such as repaying owed taxes, do not negate the committed crimes.

Don Samuel, the lawyer representing Peter Tarantino, argued that his client was unfairly tried alongside the Chrisleys and requested the court to reverse Tarantino’s conviction and order a new trial. Samuel contended that while Tarantino facilitated the Chrisleys’ fraudulent conduct, there was no evidence to suggest intentional involvement. Peters countered this argument, stating that substantial evidence demonstrated Tarantino’s personal participation and refuting any compelling evidence of harm caused by the joint trial.

Author: CrimeDoor

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