Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Update on Brockman Indictment (11/11/20)

I previously posted on the Brockman indictment in ND CA.  One Big Fish Indicted and Lesser Big Fish Achieves NPA for Cooperation (Federal Tax Crimes Blog10/16/20), here. There have been some developments via pre-trial motion practice that I note in this blog.  (Readers may follow these and future developments either on PACER (requiring fees) or on CourtListener, here, which, once a CourtListener user has first accessed via PACER, makes the docket entries and documents available for free.)

1. Brockman has moved to transfer the venue for the tax counts (tax evasion, Counts Two through Eight) to the Southern District of Texas, the district of Brockman’s residence or “in the alternative, for a bill of particulars necessary to fully litigate this motion.”  (Dkt. 21, here) This would, if granted, have the effect of severing the tax counts from the other counts, generally considered more serious counts.  But, it appears that Brockman may be up to something broader than just transfer of those tax counts to SD TX, for he advises in p. 3 n. 1 that he intends to file a motion to transfer the entire case to SD TX “for several reasons, including Mr. Brockman’s serious health issues.”  If the entire case is transferred to SD TX, there may then be a motion to sever some of the counts for separate trials.

The motion for transfer of the tax counts is based on venue requirement that criminal cases be brought in the district where the crime occurred.  The particular motion is filed now rather than as part of the larger motion because 18 USC § 3732(b) requires the motion be file 20 days after arraignment.  That is why Brockman advised the court that he will file the broader motion later.

The Government opposes the motion (both the primary and the alternative).  Dkt. 24 here.

2.  The Government has moved for an order permitting it to disclose third party tax return information pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 6103(h)(4)(D), in order for the government to comply with its obligations pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3500, Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and Brady v. Maryland and its progeny.”  (Dkt. 25, here.)  The Government identifies a range of potentially sensitive information that the IRS has gathered in the investigation and thus is subject to § 6103’s confidentiality requirements.

JAT Comments:

These are fairly mundane are relatively short filings, so I don’t discuss them further.  Students of tax crimes might want to follow the development of the case through the docket entries because, given the stakes and the resources available to both sides, the case should be well litigated, with a raft of pretrial motions from which the student can learn.

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