Why Todd Chrisley wants a new trial

Rosie Manins, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Entertainment News

ATLANTA — As he serves a 12-year prison sentence in Florida on federal bank fraud and tax evasion charges, former Atlanta multimillionaire and reality television star Todd Chrisley is pushing for a new trial, claiming the jury heard false testimony and saw evidence from an illegal warehouse raid.

The 56-year-old has asked the federal appeals court in Atlanta to acquit him on two tax-related charges and allow him to return to trial on six bank fraud charges. His lawyer is due to argue his case Friday before a panel of judges in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Chrisley’s appeal cites the testimony of an IRS officer who said during a 2022 trial that Chrisley and his wife still owed federal taxes from 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. In his new trial request, Chrisley said the officer admitted after trial that the money had been paid.

“Her testimony left the misimpression that the Chrisleys still owed substantial sums to the IRS when in fact the IRS had been failing to apply payments that the Chrisleys previously made,” Chrisley told the appeals court. “All told, the IRS owed the Chrisleys substantial refunds, not the other way around.”

Chrisley said he raised the issue with the federal trial judge in Atlanta who presided over the case, but that she refused without proper explanation to grant a new trial, even after prosecutors admitted that they knew the officer’s testimony was false and did nothing to correct it.

Prosecutors told the appeals court that the trial judge found no evidence that they or the officer knew her testimony was incorrect. The officer testified to the best of her recollection, prosecutors said.

“There is no reasonable likelihood that any alleged false testimony could have affected the verdict,” prosecutors said. “The jury also had ample evidence to convict the Chrisleys of willfully evading payment of the $500,000 that Todd owed on his 2009 taxes.”

Chrisley is also challenging evidence that he claims was illegally obtained by the Georgia Department of Revenue and turned over to federal investigators. The state agency launched its own investigation of the Chrisleys’ taxes, which was settled in 2019.

Part of the state probe involved a warrantless search of a locked warehouse where the Chrisleys stored personal items, Chrisley said. He said officers from the state department seized “massive amounts of furniture, personal property, and about 20 boxes containing documents, including financial records that the agents believed to be fraudulent.”

Though the trial judge suppressed evidence from the warehouse search, she let federal prosecutors rely on the information they gleaned from it, Chrisley argued.

Prosecutors said they independently obtained through email search warrants electronic versions of the documents recovered in the warehouse search.

The Chrisleys filed a civil lawsuit against one of the state tax investigators and recently settled that case for $1 million. Chrisley was separately found liable for slandering another Georgia Department of Revenue investigator and ordered to pay her $755,000.


Chrisley’s attempt to nix his tax evasion convictions centers on the fact that he and his family members featured on the “Chrisley Knows Best” reality television show were paid via a company called 7C’s Productions Inc. Chrisley said receiving income through a company is a legitimate and standard practice in the entertainment industry, and that there was no evidence the use of 7C’s was unlawful.

Prosecutors claimed the Chrisleys used 7C’s to hide from the IRS the more than $6 million they made from the show, keeping Todd Chrisley’s name off the company and its bank accounts to evade paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in outstanding taxes.

Appellate judges are also set to consider Friday whether Chrisley’s wife, Julie Chrisley, should be acquitted on five bank fraud charges and resentenced on five other counts. She is serving a seven-year prison sentence in the case.

Former Atlanta multimillionaires and reality television stars Todd and Julie Chrisley are appealing their bank fraud and tax evasion convictions.

Former Atlanta multimillionaires and reality television stars Todd and Julie Chrisley are appealing their bank fraud and tax evasion convictions.

Julie Chrisley, 51, is challenging the $17.2 million restitution that she and her husband were ordered to pay and a related $17.2 million forfeiture ruling allowing prosecutors to take their property.

Prosecutors said the $36 million in bank loans that the Chrisleys fraudulently obtained over several years contributed to the downfall of three Atlanta banks – Alpha Bank & Trust, Haven Trust Bank and Integrity Bank. The couple falsely claimed that Todd Chrisley had $4 million in a Merrill Lynch account, among other things, and targeted community banks that tended not to undertake the due diligence of larger banks, records show.

Peter Tarantino, the Chrisleys’ former accountant who was prosecuted alongside them, is also appealing his convictions. Tarantino wants a new trial on his three tax evasion-related charges, for which he was sentenced to three years in prison and fined $35,000.

The trio were sentenced in September 2022. The Chrisleys began their prison sentences in January 2023. Todd Chrisley is in a minimum security prison in Pensacola, Florida, while Julie Chrisley is at a prison facility in Lexington, Kentucky. Tarantino, 61, started serving his sentence at the federal prison in Montgomery, Alabama, in June 2023.


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