Jason Williams heads to the first day of his tax fraud charges at the Hale Boggs Federal Courthouse on Poydras Street in New Orleans, Monday, July 18, 2022. (Staff Photo by David Grunfeld, | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

The acquittal of Jason Williams on federal tax fraud and related charges is obviously good news for the embattled Orleans Parish district attorney. We think the end of the lengthy legal saga will also benefit the citizens he serves.

That’s not to say we find Williams without fault. He was legally exonerated when the feds left reasonable doubt as to his involvement in, knowledge of and intention to underpay his taxes to the tune of $200,000 over five years, and after they relied too much on a deeply flawed star witness, Williams' tax preparer.

But Williams clearly played fast and loose with his business deductions, and at the least, that reflects poorly on the management of his own business and household, both much smaller entities than the major office he now oversees. That he will now have to pay the government what he owes is no punishment; it’s simply his obligation as a citizen, one that most constituents undertake freely and with much less drama.

More importantly for New Orleans, Williams can now turn his undivided attention to the job to which he was elected in 2020, at a time when New Orleanians are beyond frustrated with the rise in crime.

Williams ran and won on a platform that elevated the rights of the accused and voiced skepticism of the culture of mass incarceration; he’s largely remade the office under the progressive model but has also wisely stepped back from a few of his absolutist promises, including his vow to never try juveniles as adults even if they’re accused of truly heinous crimes. He’s insisted that he can effectively prosecute violent crime while also sticking to his ideals.

Two years ago, New Orleans’ voters knew of Williams’ indictment and they put their faith in him anyway. The jury has now given him a chance to spend the rest of his six-year term proving he deserved it.