By ADRIENNE PACKER
A federal judge slapped income tax rebel Irwin Schiff with another 11 months in prison Friday after determining that the 80-year-old disrupted his trial "innumerable" times before he was finally convicted of tax-related charges.
Schiff, who is already serving a 151-month sentence, appeared in federal court and continued to be combative with U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson.
Dawson reminded Schiff that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s guilty verdict on charges of conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, tax evasion and filing false returns.
Dawson said the appeals court also reviewed the trial transcripts and agreed with the 15 contempt citations issued to Schiff, who represented himself during the 2006 trial.
"The 9th Circuit has been wrong before," Schiff shot back. "Just because the 9th Circuit says something, that doesn’t mean it’s true."
Schiff used appeals court rulings and opinions when it benefited his cause, but criticized the panel when its opinions did not go his way, Dawson said. He repeatedly interrupted Dawson and ignored the judge’s order not to make arguments related to his conviction.
Despite the guilty verdict, Schiff maintains his innocence and tried to plead his case to the judge.
"You have not learned anything from this," Dawson said, pointing out that Schiff’s behavior Friday was no different from that shown during his trial. "You disrespect the court; you disrespect the process."
The contempt citations filed against Schiff stem from offering leading questions that made witnesses speculate what Schiff was thinking; asking questions to elicit irrelevant testimony; offering testimony by referring to himself in the first person, and arguing with the court.
Schiff said the citations were fraudulent and untruthful.
"The only fraud in this court, sir, is you," Dawson said. "You made money at the expense of followers. You fraudulently led them down a path that led them to ruin."
Schiff called himself a political prisoner, arguing that the government wanted to shut him up so it could continue to collect taxes.
"History will reveal that my books are correct," Schiff said, referring to five publications instructing U.S. citizens on how to avoid paying taxes. "The government is destroying this nation."
The adversarial relationship between Schiff and Dawson is nothing new.
During Schiff’s trial, Schiff and his cohorts took to the radio airwaves to stir up other anti-tax proponents. Those proponents showed up during the trial and shouted "objection" in the middle of proceedings.
Dawson said earlier this year that acid was poured on the vehicles of IRS agents and court employees’ tires were punctured. Dawson said he feared for his life and for months had a U.S. marshal drive him and his wife to run errands.
Schiff, who is serving time in a Terre Haute, Ind., federal prison, has 10 days to appeal the sentence related to the contempt citations.
Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at email@example.com or 702-384-8710.