John Shea's Big Case
"I've been accused of not playing well in the sandbox with others when it comes to my caseload, that I can be too insular and obsessive, not letting people help enough. One of the things I've had to learn in this case is, you better allow people to help, or you're not going to get through it."
When asked if he prepares the sound bites he sometimes gives the media as he and Kilpatrick leave the courthouse, Shea laughs. "Well, if I did, I probably wouldn't have said, 'I probably never filed a 100 percent accurate tax return.'
"We were talking about the difference between a criminal tax offense as opposed to an innocent or mistaken understatement of income," he explains. "What I said to [the reporters] is, 'I think it's probably a stretch to believe that I or anybody else has ever submitted a tax return that is 100 percent accurate. An inaccuracy [alone] doesn't make for a crime.'"
Sometime this month, the jurors will be asked to decide whose narrative they believe. The prosecution says that Bernard Kilpatrick extorted money from people doing business with the city and hid income from the IRS. Shea argues that he was a legitimate businessman who couldn't have influenced city decisions if he'd wanted to, and that any tax shortfall was inadvertent.