Court Squashes One of Biggest Tax Fraud Cases in History

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The AP reports that a judge has dropped charges against 13 former KPMG employees in what had been one of the largest criminal tax cases in U.S. history.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said the dismissal was necessary because the government coerced KPMG to limit and then cut off its payment of the onetime employees’ legal fees….

The case resulted after the government investigated what it described as a tax shelter fraud that helped the wealthy escape $2.5 billion in U.S. taxes.

Kaplan said the Department of Justice “deliberately or callously” prevented many of the defendants from getting funds for their defense, blocking them from hiring the lawyers of their choice.

A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors, Yusill Scribner, told the AP the government “had no comment.”

A lawyer reader comments that the DOJ botched the case by overreaching in trying to an unusual degree to deny the defendants the ability to pay their lawyers. “This is a tactic the Justice Department started using under Ashcroft in white collar cases. It has been roundly criticized by civil libertarians, unions, defense counsel and many, many, federal judges. The policy was announced in the infamous Thompson memo, named after the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division who issued it. It was so controversial that Justice recently announced it was withdrawing the memo. Too late for the largest criminal tax fraud case in history.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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