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Appeals court upholds ex-Cook County Commissioner's federal tax conviction

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CHICAGO — A federal appeals court has upheld the tax-evasion conviction of a once-influential Chicago Democrat.

Monday's 26-page ruling from a three-judge panel is at least partly academic. Last month, former Cook County Commissioner William Beavers completed his six-month prison term for failing to declare campaign cash he used to gamble.

His lawyers alleged multiple errors by trial Judge James Zagel. They say that included Zagel barring them from telling jurors Beavers fixed his tax returns after learning he was under investigation.

But the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said belated attempts to correct false forms and refile isn't necessarily relevant to the initial crime.

The 79-year-old Beavers was known for bravado during his 25 years in politics. Boasting about his influence, he once famously compared himself to a virile hog.

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