Appeals Court Rejects Tax Case of McVeigh’s Lawyer

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An appeals court ratified that Timothy McVeigh’s lawyer cannot claim a charitable tax deduction for donating prosecution materials from the Oklahoma City bombing case.

On Friday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals—consisting of a three-judge panel—upheld a tax court ruling that eliminated the deduction claimed by Stephen Jones for material he collected as lead defense counsel in McVeigh’s trial for the bombing that killed 168 people in 1995.

Jones told the Associated Press on Monday that the courts agreed that the amount of donations given was not substantial enough to be considered a tax deduction. Jones attested that the language of the court was ill-tempered, but the appellate court rejected this assertion.

Jones also reported that the Internal Revenue Service treated him and his wife, Sherrel, with an unprofessional, condescending attitude from beginning to end.

He said that he had asked that the agency’s Oklahoma City office be left out of the case because some IRS workers there had experienced personal losses in the bombing, which also damaged various areas of the downtown area, as well as injuring hundreds of people.

Clay Sanford, a spokesman for the IRS in Dallas, refused to comment on the case because of federal disclosure regulations that prohibit any public discussion of individual tax matters.

The materials were valued at $297,877, by an appraiser hired by Jones, in which later was claimed as a tax deduction by both Jones and his wife. He reported that the deduction was received four years prior to the rejection by the IRS and sent Jones a notice of tax deficiency for $14,785.

The Denver-based appellate court said the size of the deduction Jones could claim was limited to the amount he had paid or invested—which was none.

The University of Texas, which was Jones’s undergraduate alma mater, received the prosecution and defense materials. The archive includes videotapes, FBI reports, correspondence and other materials.

 

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