Politics

2024 GOP Candidate Filing 14th Amendment Cases Against Trump Arrested

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


The obscure Republican presidential candidate and lawyer from Texas who has filed several lawsuits in states to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the 2024 election based on the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment was arrested on federal charges.

“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,” The Hill reported last week.

According to documents filed in court, “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 noted further:

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.

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The tax forms Castro then filed on behalf of the undercover officer contained nearly $30,000 in fraudulently claimed deductions, prosecutors said.

Castro was indicted the same day his ballot challenge in New Hampshire was dismissed. Similar cases have also been rejected in Florida, Michigan, and Nevada. Despite several 14th Amendment lawsuits still awaiting resolution, none have made significant progress.

That said, Colorado and Maine have removed Trump from the ’24 ballot; the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of the Colorado decision.

The Maine Supreme Court refrained from deciding this week whether Trump would be disqualified from appearing on the state’s ballot, opting to wait for an anticipated ruling from the nation’s highest court.

A state superior court judge put a halt to Democratic Secretary of State Shenna Bellows’ declaration on December 28 that Trump was not eligible to appear on the ballot, citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. On February 8, the US Supreme Court will consider Trump’s appeal of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision from December 19 that disqualified him from that state’s election.

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 a week later, Fox News reported.

“We now dismiss the appeal because we conclude that it is interlocutory and that no statutory or judicially created exception to our rule requiring a final judgment on appeal applies,” the Maine Supreme Court’s decision said in response to Bellows’ appeal on the hold.

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Special Counsel Jack Smith obtained a four-count indictment against Trump in August. The charges consist of conspiracy to deceive the United States, conspiracy against the right to vote and have one’s vote counted, and conspiracy to obstruct and hinder the Jan. 6 proceedings. Smith did not charge Trump with inciting insurrection.

“The Secretary of State suggests that there is irreparable harm because a delay in certainty about whether Trump’s name should appear on the primary ballot will result in voter confusion,” the court said in the unanimous, unsigned opinion. “This uncertainty is, however, precisely what guides our decision not to undertake immediate appellate review in this particular case. Multiple alternative outcomes would be more effectively addressed through the Superior Court’s order of remand to the Secretary of State.”

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