Doctor Deserves Vindication, Lawyer Truly Demands Accountability

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Back in the 1990s, a nationwide tax-shelter and investment business named Anderson’s Ark Associates (AAA) caught the Internal Revenue Service’s attention. Claiming that it was nothing more than a tax-evasion scheme, the IRS indicted those involved — including investors who didn’t know it was a scam and who had lost their investments.

What transpired then has become the focus of several US~Observer investigative reports. With several successes at the hands of the winningest lawyer in America against the IRS, Houston-based Michael Minns, there is one final client who deserves vindication: Dr. Erik Dehlinger.

Dehlinger, a South Carolina emergency room surgeon, invested with AAA and lost. Dehlinger even appeared on the government’s victim list. Nonetheless, Dehlinger was charged with income tax evasion — during years when AAA’s main planner, Tara La Grand, actually produced the doctor’s tax returns. He signed those returns because, as Dehlinger said: “She said it was legal. I relied on her.”

AAA sought to protect itself and its planners and hired an attorney by the name of Scott Engelhard, who also ended up representing Dehlinger.

And that’s what this case is really about: conflict — conflict of interest, the conflict that comes when an attorney (Englehard) testifies against his own client (Dehlinger) and keeps off the stand the only people who could testify for the doctor. It’s the conflict that arises when your own attorney essentially puts you in prison.

But the greatest conflict comes when someone champions the cause of the innocent, stands up and says enough is enough — as is the case of Michael Minns’ fighting for Dehlinger and his right to have had a fair trial. It’s something Minns contends could not have happened with Englehard as the doctor’s attorney, especially because he also represented La Grand, who — even though she has been accused of being a perjurer — was not allowed to testify in the doctor’s case.

At the Oct. 30 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing, Minns stood in the middle of the conflict by responding to Judge Andre Davis’ question: “What lawyer, frankly, in his or her good mind would ever have called Ms. La Grand as a witness?”

Minns responded immediately, without hesitation: “Well, I definitely would have. And I did subpoena her. And I also put planners on during the trial in Seattle where we won acquittals in all counts. And I definitely would have put her on in this case because she said they all believed it [AAA] was legitimate.”

Minns went on to point out that there really was conflict all the way through this case, and that Dehlinger could not have received a fair trial.

Two of the three judges seemed critical of the argument for Dehlinger, but all three judges (Roger Gregory, Diana Gribbon Motz and Davis) seemed put off by the government argument.

According to Minns, the decision could go either way.

So on this Thanksgiving Day take a moment to offer a thought or prayer for the successful resolution in Dehlinger’s case, and then raise your glass to the likes of Minns, a lawyer who truly demands accountability.

–Ron Lee

Ron Lee

Writing has always been one of Ron Lee's passions, however, Ron's innate talents have given him a broad set of skills.He has worked as a webmaster for WorldNetDaily, designed NewsWithViews.com, Devvy.com and a myriad of other web sites. He has also owned his own fiber optic lighting company, PC repair business, and coffee company.However, the most rewarding position he has had is with the US~Observer. For the last 10 years Ron has spent his time helping US~Observer clients with his no-nonsense investigative reporting style. He also designed the look and feel of the US~Observer web site and newspaper, and is responsible for the layout of each new edition.Ron's educational background includes attending Richmond University in London where he focused on theatre arts, and the University of Nevada Reno where he dual majored in criminal justice and psychology.In his off time, Ron enjoys Wing Chun Gung Fu, hiking (hit the top of Mt. Whitney - the highest peak in the lower states), taking walks, shooting, writing, acting and inventing new and unique products.Ron devoutly believes the Constitution is the answer to our political woes, and he is an impassioned spokesperson for the use of logic in all political decisions - something he believes is sorely lacking, especially in Washington D. C.

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