IRS special agent requested in Bolton tax evasion case, 3 other motions filed

IRS special agent requested in Bolton tax evasion case, 3 other motions filed
Chief Deputy Charles Bolton. Photo credit: WDAM.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The government filed a motion in the tax evasion case against Forrest County Chief Deputy Charles Bolton and his wife Linda on Tuesday.

The motion, a "memorandum in support of United States' motion to admit summary witness testimony and summary exhibits."

That motion, related to more than 100 checks to Sports 22 Restaurant & Bar and Hall Avenue Package Store, the two businesses owned by the Bolton's.

Court filings show requests to call Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Bradley Luker as an expert witness to help summarize the "voluminous documentary evidence" in the case.

According to the motion, the government is arguing that it needs the IRS special agent to assist the jury in understanding these transactions.

The expert would summarize who endorsed the checks, how many were deposited in the business accounts and how many were cashed.

"As a part of Agent Luker's testimony, the government anticipates introducing summary charts that show the financial transactions," according to Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr., U.S. Attorney.

On Monday, three other motions were filed in the case.

Motion 1: To exclude defense arguments about John W. Lee's unavailability to testify.

"The United States intends to introduce business records, checks, check registers, and tax returns of John W. Lee, an attorney and friend of the Boltons," according to Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr., U.S. Attorney.

According to the motion, Lee's attorney has informed the government that Lee will invoke his Fifth Amendment right against testifying in the trial and will be unavailable to testify.

The government states that in lieu of Lee's testimony, they intend to admit the records as business records through stipulation and, possibly, through other witnesses with personal knowledge of the records.

The motion details the relevancy of the records in the case.

"The Lee records will establish that many of the checks that Lee wrote to the Sports 22 Restaurant were designated in his business records as for "supplies" or other goods and services," according to Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr., U.S. Attorney.

Many of those checks from Lee to Sports 22 record the checks as being for "goods and services."

"The government will also seek to admit Lee's tax returns for the 2009-2013 to show that Lee also claimed deductions for the checks he wrote to Sports 22 and Hall Avenue Package Store because the checks were for supplies or goods and services," according to Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr., U.S. Attorney. "The checks, check registers, and tax returns are relevant because they tend to establish that the Lee checks were for goods and services (income to Sports 22 or Hall Avenue Package Store), and not loans or income to Lee."

The motion goes on to detail that the defendants should be precluded from arguing that Lee must testify so that the Boltons can have an opportunity to cross-examine Lee, that they are prejudiced by the government's failure to call him or that the government is hiding something or has a weak case because Lee is unavailable.

Motion 2: To exclude evidence of specific instances of defendants' law abidingness or alleged "good deeds" and any reference to potential sentences.

According to the motion, Charles Bolton's position as chief deputy sheriff of Forrest County and Linda Bolton's status as his wife, they have interacted with the citizens in the Hattiesburg area on civic projects and in various other contexts.

"The U.S. believes the defendants may seek to use specific instances where Charles Bolton was helpful in his official role, or where his wife may have assisted him at charitable events of civic activities in her personal capacity, in an attempt to persuade the jury that the defendants are 'do gooders,' law abiding citizens, and/or honest public servants who would not commit the acts charged in the indictment," according to Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr., U.S. Attorney.

Motion 3: Another motion filed on Monday was by Charles Bolton, to exclude evidence and/or comments by the U.S. relating to the Rhonda Lott v. Forrest County civil trial.

That case, which was settled in March for $300,000 alleged that Lott was fired as a result of her testimony in the 2013 Ware vs. DuPree mayoral election trial.

"The accused, Charles Bolton moves the court to exclude any evidence, or any comments by counsel or any attempted testimonial evidence relating to or touching upon the fact that James K. (Jim) Dukes and Paul "Bud" Holmes previously represented Linda Bolton and were disqualified," according to Bolton's motion.

According to responses by U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett filed Monday, responses to the motions should be filed on or before Sept. 1, 2016.