Girod Jackson appears in federal court in advance of not guilty plea

Girod Jackson III, who resigned from the state Legislature last month after being charged with tax fraud, pleaded not guilty in federal court Thursday, though his attorney said later that he plans to enter a guilty plea in the near future.

Jackson’s attorney, Jim Boren, would not say whether the plea would come on or before the next hearing, scheduled for Oct. 24.

“We don’t know when that will be,” Boren said, declining all questions as he and Jackson left the federal court building on Poydras Street after the arraignment.

About 20 minutes earlier, Jackson, a Democrat from Harvey, stood clad in a dark blue suit before U.S. District Court Judge Lance Africk, saying only that he understood his rights before all agreed to a bond of $25,000. Jackson is charged with one felony count of tax fraud and two misdemeanor charges of failing to file a tax return related to his Marrero contracting company, Diversified Ventures.

If convicted, Jackson faces up to three years in prison and a $100,000 fine for the felony count and one year in prison and a $100,000 fine for the misdemeanor charges.

Prosecutors allege Jackson claimed on his 2006 tax return that his company, Diversified Ventures, made only $108,000 when in fact it brought in about $600,000.

As for the two misdemeanor charges, prosecutors allege Jackson didn’t file his 2007 return until November 2011, and didn’t file his 2008 return at all.