Armstrong’s new trial motion rejected by judge

U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips has rejected former state Rep.
Joe Armstrong’s bid for a new trial and scheduled sentencing for Nov. 30 on his felony conviction for filing a false federal income tax return, reports the News Sentinel.

The August conviction involved profits the veteran legislator made by buying state tobacco tax stamps before a cigarette tax increase that he supported, then selling them after the 2007 tax hike became law. Armstrong contended his accountant misled him into believing the taxes had been paid.

But Phillips said Armstrong’s own testimony provided proof he knew the windfall must be included on his taxes – in whatever form, whether income or capital gains – but signed the document knowing it wasn’t included.

“(Armstrong) admitted that the profit was income to him, it was not included on his 2008 income tax return and it should have been,” Phillips wrote. “He acknowledged that he could not report his income on the tax return of another person. Thus, the jury was presented with the defendant’s own testimony that the tax stamp profit was his income, and he did not report it.”

Armstrong is expected to appeal the conviction further. He faces a maximum of three years in prison when sentenced.

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