Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson trial: Jurors hear opening arguments in tax fraud trial

As the tax fraud trial of Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson opened Tuesday, jurors heard dramatically different descriptions of what he did.

Though he admits to underpaying his income tax, he calls it an innocent mistake.

Prosecutors call it criminal.

Thompson's lawyer said his client had, "bitten off more than he could chew" with duties as Alderman of the 11th ward, as a zoning lawyer and as a "soccer dad."  

He said that's why Thompson made "mistakes" on his federal tax returns for five years.

Prosecutors painted a more sinister picture, noting that Thompson is a practicing lawyer.

They said he intentionally took a tax deduction on $171,000 in mortgage interest he never paid — on a loan that wasn't even a mortgage at all. 

After the bank that gave him the money collapsed in a scandal, the feds say Thompson lied about his loans to IRS agents and others. 


Among other things, they say Thompson claimed to owe only $110,000, instead of his actual debt: $219,000.

After he was interviewed by investigators, Thompson sent amended tax returns to the IRS, along with an additional payment of $15,000.

The presiding judge says he expects five or six days of testimony in this trial, meaning the jury is likely to get it early next week.