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The little-known Republican presidential contender and attorney from Texas, who has filed lawsuits in dozens of states seeking to remove former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot under the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment, has been arrested on federal charges.
According to The Hill, “John Anthony Castro was indicted last week on 33 counts of aiding the preparation of false tax returns. Prosecutors claim he ran a virtual tax preparation business that provided customers with tax returns beyond what they were actually owed, defrauding the government.”
In court documents, federal prosecutors alleged: “Castro would promise a significantly higher refund than taxpayers could receive from other preparers and on many occasions, offered to split the additional refund with taxpayers. In order to achieve these larger refunds, Castro generated false deductions, that were not based in fact, and which were submitted without the taxpayer’s knowledge.”
The Hill added:
Castro was busted by an undercover police officer, prosecutors outlined, who posed as a customer for his tax services. While a reputable tax preparer promised the undercover agent a $373 tax return, Castro instead claimed he could get $6,007, and offered to split the difference in extra cash.
The tax forms Castro then filed on behalf of the undercover officer contained nearly $30,000 in fraudulently claimed deductions, prosecutors said.
On the same day his ballot challenge in New Hampshire was dismissed, he faced indictment. His efforts have similarly been rejected in Florida and, most recently, in Nevada on Tuesday. While several 14th Amendment lawsuits are still awaiting resolution, none have made substantial progress.
BREAKING: The man who has been filing lawsuits in every state to get Donald Trump removed from the 2024 election ballot has been arrested & charged with filing 17 sets of false tax documents to the IRS. In total, John Anthony Castro has been charged with 33 counts of aiding the… pic.twitter.com/mQWi4MI2ii
— Antonio Sabato Jr (@AntonioSabatoJr) January 10, 2024
On the same day his ballot challenge in New Hampshire was dismissed, Castro faced indictment. His efforts have similarly been rejected in Florida and, most recently, in Nevada on Tuesday. While several 14th Amendment lawsuits are still awaiting resolution, none have made substantial progress.
Nonetheless, there have been successful challenges to Trump’s eligibility based on identical arguments. In both Colorado and Maine, efforts to remove Trump from their respective state ballots have been effective, with the matter currently pending Supreme Court action. Just last week, the Supreme Court announced its intention to review the merits of the Colorado case.
Castro told The Hill that the charges are politically motivated, “no question about it,” adding that he settled the tax return matter with the IRS in 2021, claiming that some clients just didn’t understand tax law. He added that his firm repaid about $700,000 that year to resolve differences.
“I don’t care if they offered me one-day probation and a slap on the wrist in exchange for a guilty plea,” he said. “This is going to trial. I am going to convince all 12 jurors that I am 100 percent innocent and that this is political retaliation.”
He is due back in court on Jan. 17.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to take an emergency appeal from attorneys for Trump after the Colorado Supreme Court banned him from that state’s 2024 ballot last month.
The nation’s highest court said that all briefs filed in the case are due by Jan. 31 and that the justices would hear oral arguments on Feb. 8, Fox News reported.
“The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The case is set for oral argument on Thursday, February 8, 2024,” the decision said. “Petitioner’s brief on the merits, and any amicus curiae briefs in support or support of neither party, are to be filed on or before Thursday, January 18, 2024.”
At the same time, the high court issued a stay of Colorado’s order, instructing that state’s secretary of state to place Trump’s name back on the ballot pending the final decision in the case.
The Colorado court barred Trump under the 14th Amendment’s provision banning “officers” of the United States who engaged in “insurrection” from running for elected office. Supreme Court justices will likely consider the meaning of the phrase “engaged in insurrection” to make their decisions, Fox News reported.