Federal trial of Tennessee state lawmaker starts Tuesday

By ERIK SCHELZIG
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Just days before Tennessee’s primaries, one veteran state lawmaker won’t be battling on a ballot, but in federal court fighting fraud and tax evasion charges.

Federal prosecutors allege that Democratic state Rep. Joe Armstrong of Knoxville devised a scheme to profit from a state cigarette tax hike in 2007 and then failed to report more than $318,000 in earnings to the IRS.

The trial begins with jury selection in Knoxville on Tuesday.

Armstrong’s attorneys had unsuccessfully sought to keep the defendant’s role as a state lawmaker from the jury, arguing that it would require the defense to fight a political corruption case as opposed to a general tax evasion case.

Prosecutors say Armstrong hid his earnings because he didn’t want to be seen as profiting from Big Tobacco.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Categories: Government & Politics, Regional News

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