Former Knoxville lawmaker’s request for retrial is denied

Joe and Letonia Armstrong
Joe and Letonia Armstrong

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A federal court has denied former State Representative Joe Armstrong’s request for a retrial.

Armstrong was found guilty of filing a fraudulent tax return in August. A sentencing date is set for November 30. When asked if he’s planning to file an appeal, Armstrong’s attorney, Greg Isaacs, said they’re in the process of reviewing the court’s opinion.”

U.S. Attorney Charles Atchley said the government will be asking the court to sentence Armstrong to jail time and he could end up paying up to $250,000 in fines, as well as restitution for back taxes, penalties and interest. Prosecutors say the fraud charge is a felony and Armstrong could face up to three years in prison.

The case stems from cigarette tax stamps purchased before a tax increase on which Armstrong voted. The stamps were then sold after the tax hike at a profit. The U.S. Attorney’s office says Armstrong didn’t pay taxes on those earnings.

In September, Armstrong announced his retirement from the Tennessee State House. He also dropped-out of the election for the District 15 State House race. Democrats selected Rick Staples as their new candidate.



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