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December 4, 2004
1:05 AM Eastern

Joseph Banister is a former IRS Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent. (search) After years of researching the income tax code, Banister came to the conclusion that the government was misapplying the tax code to the majority of Americans. This highly trained CPA and valued IRS criminal investigator presented his findings to his superiors all the way to Washington, DC and asked them to dispute his findings. With unusual speed, the government refused and Banister resigned his $80,000 a year job on principle and because he felt he couldn't participate in the illegal activities being conducted by his former employer.

On November 18, 2004, Banister was arrested on a federal indictment accusing him of tax crimes. He pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court, posted bond and was released. The indictment ties Banister to a co-defendant, Walter A. Thompson of Redding, California who has also been indicted regarding his stand on withholding taxes. (search) Thompson refused to surrender to federal authorities, but instead fled and ended up with a high speed chase on Interstate 5 in Northern California. Thompson is considered a flight risk and denied bail.

Both Banister and Thompson appeared in court on December 1, 2004, at the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, California for a status conference. Thompson was in an orange jump suit and shackled in chains with his hands chained to his waist. Judge William B. Shubb granted Thompson's request to represent himself, but also appointed a federal public defender for Thompson to assist in his defense. At one point, Judge Shubb attempted to establish that Thompson had already plead not guilty, but Thompson challenged this point of law and insisted that he had not pleaded to anything. Additionally, Thompson told Judge Shubb that he had filed a writ of habeas corpus on November 30, 2004; the judge said he had not received it at the time of this status conference.

Banister is being represented by Don Kilmer of San Jose, California, well known as a champion of the Second Amendment and Jeff Dickstein, one of the premier criminal defense lawyers in the country regarding income tax matters. Dickstein brought a motion before the court to bar the Department of Justice from issuing any more press releases that Dickstein feels are clearly prejudicial against his client and could contaminate the jury pool. Judge Shubb declined saying he didn't see anything in the government's press releases that was inappropriate or unethical and he would not gag either side at this point.

Banister, along with thousands of other Americans have repeatedly requested hearings with the IRS and Department of Justice to answer what they consider to be valid and important legal questions regarding the application of the income tax. (search) Representatives of those agencies finally agreed to hold public hearings on February 27 and 28, 2002, but reneged and continue to refuse to respond to any challenge or, as Banister remarks, "reasonable questions." It is unclear why the government continues to refuse to attend open, public hearings to show the American people the law regarding the income tax, instead relying on the courts, who themselves can't make up their mind. (search)

While other media reports and the IRS have stated that Banister has been advising clients and the general population not to file income tax returns, Banister maintains that he has never advised anyone not to file a return and insists that all videos of his personal and radio show appearances will bear this out to be the truth. The indictment ties Banister to Thompson for conspiracy to defraud the government regarding Thompson's years long legal battle over stopping withholding regarding his employees and the IRS. Supporters of Banister charge that this indictment is retaliation by the Department of Justice for Banister exposing the truth about the income tax.

A trial date has been set for January 19, 2005 at 1:30 pm in Judge Shubb's court room. A legal defense fund has been set up: Joseph Banister Legal Defense Fund, P.O. Box 90239, San Jose, California 95109-4239. Thompson is pro-se with a federal public defender as advisor.

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Banister is being represented by Don Kilmer of San Jose, California, well known as a champion of the Second Amendment and Jeff Dickstein, one of the premier criminal defense lawyers in the country...