Todd and Julie Chrisley pleaded not guilty to tax evasion and other federal charges in a Georgia court on Wednesday. The stars of Chrisley Knows Best surrendered to authorities earlier in the day. According to reports, Todd and Julie were each released on $100,000 unsecured appearance bonds. A federal judge ruled their travel will be restricted to Atlanta, parts of Tennessee and California where they can film their reality show; however, the couple must notify their probation officers first.
Todd appeared happy leaving court, Julie more stoic, in a video obtained by TMZ. "We're going to fight it and we're going to win it," the Chrisleys' lawyer said. "They are innocent of every single charge."
The Chrisleys’ attorneys, Bruce H. Morris and Stephen M. Friedberg, issued a statement to Yahoo Entertainment after court Wednesday:
For quite some time now, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia has been conducting an investigation of Todd and Julie Chrisley based for the most part on the demonstrably false allegations of a former officer of a company they owned jointly. We saw the results of this effort yesterday — an indictment against Todd, Julie, and their accountant that relies largely if not entirely on emails that we know Todd never sent but rather were fabricated by this former employee.
This individual, identified in the indictment only as “Co-conspirator A,” first approached federal authorities in 2012, claiming he had evidence that Todd had been trying to avoid paying his taxes. What the authorities didn’t know, at least initially, was that he had been fired by the Chrisleys after they discovered he had been falsifying documents, forging their signatures, bugging their home, and intimidating other employees into covering up what amounted to a multi-million-dollar embezzlement scheme. These and many other criminal misdeeds were detailed in a federal RICO suit that the Chrisleys filed against him in 2012. Ironically, it was this lawsuit that sent him to the U.S. Attorney’s office. He wasn’t looking for justice but for revenge and his “evidence” against Todd consisted mainly of falsified documents.
Now, seven years later, the government has granted this individual immunity from prosecution for his own crimes and used his false allegations to bring an indictment against the Chrisley. We have no doubt that if this case ever reaches a courtroom, Todd and Julie will be completely exonerated. But in the meantime, their reputation will be sullied by a shamefully unjustified prosecution based on testimony of a dishonest source who has somehow managed to successfully mislead prosecutors.
The reality TV stars have been indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion. The Chrisleys' accountant, Peter Tarantino, has also been indicted on tax-related offenses. In a statement on Instagram, Todd preemptively denied the charges, alleging a disgruntled employee set them up.
"It all started back in 2012, when we discovered that a trusted employee of ours had been stealing from us big time," he wrote, claiming this person created "phony documents" and forged their signatures. The employee was fired and according to Todd, "took his phony documents to the U.S. Attorney's office and told them we had committed all kinds of financial crimes, like tax evasion and bank fraud."
"I'm telling you all this now because we have nothing to hide and have done nothing to be ashamed of. Not only do we know we've done nothing wrong, but we've got a ton of hard evidence and a bunch of corroborating witnesses that proves it," he continued. "Anyway, when all is said and done we trust in God..."
So, how will this affect the future of their USA Network show? Despite a report claiming Chrisley Knows Best will be canceled, a source close to the situation tells Yahoo Entertainment the rumor is "completely false." New episodes will air this fall.
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