Mercer County man changes mind on tax evasion plea

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A federal judge Wednesday scheduled a Dec. 3 trial for a Sharon man accused of tax evasion, rebuking him after he backed out of a planned guilty plea.

Joseph E. Gump's trial on charges of evading taxes from 2003 through 2006 had been set to start Tuesday. But Mr. Gump told the court last week that he would plead guilty, prompting the judge to cancel a call for 50 prospective jurors.

Then Mr. Gump wrote to U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry's staff, saying that a guilty plea "would be a lie" and demanding a trial.

"This is the fourth rescheduling of this jury trial," fumed Judge McVerry at what would have been a plea hearing. There will be no further delay, he said.

Mr. Gump was accused in a 2011 indictment of indicating "none" as his taxable income for four years during which he earned a total of $250,333 and owed a total of $49,370. He has argued in court filings that the income tax can only be legally levied on federal lands.

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