Chaka Fattah Jr. Will Represent Himself at Tax Trial

A judge urged him not to represent himself at his federal tax evasion and fraud trial, but the Congressman's son will defend himself next year.

Against the advice of a federal judge, Chaka Fattah Jr. will represent himself at a federal fraud and tax evasion trial next year. Judge Harvey Bartle III ruled today Fattah can represent himself.

The son of the longtime congressman says he differs with his former attorneys, as well as standby counsel, on his defense. “I think it is clear that — you heard the judge — my life is on the line here,” Fattah Jr. said. “Nobody is going to be able to make it for 418 years.” That’s how many years Fattah Jr. could be facing if he’s convicted of all counts. (Even if he is convicted of everything, here’s hoping he would not be not thrown in jail for life for tax fraud.)

Fattah can ask the public defender’s office for help at any time, the judge ruled.

Fattah Jr. is not a lawyer, but he’s already filed a 305-page court motion defending himself. It alleges lies in grand jury testimony and “repeated and intentional government misconduct.”

[CBS Philly | Inquirer | Daily News]