The federal tax evasion trial for pastors Anthony and Harriet Jinwright may go longer than initially anticipated.
Originally expected to last about three weeks, one of the lawyers said privately last week that the trial could go on twice that long.
On Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Brown told Judge Frank Whitney that the government plans to call more than 50 witnesses. Fewer than 20 have testified so far.
“Some of those, I am confident, will require some time, both by the government and the defense,” Brown said.
Kevin Tate, the public defender representing Harriet Jinwright, said he intends to call two witnesses – each requiring about a half day – to offer testimony on her behalf. The government has objected to both.
Tate did not name the potential witnesses, and Whitney said he would rule on the government’s objection next week.
Lawyers representing Anthony Jinwright said they expect his defense to take “multiple days.”
In testimony Tuesday, a former finance manager at a Hendrick Lexus dealership on Independence Boulevard said that on Aug. 7, 2006, Anthony Jinwright came in for service and during that visit leased two Lexus LX470 vehicles – one for himself and one for his wife — in one transaction.
On the lease application, according to prosecutors, Jinwright listed his monthly income at $100,000, or $1.2 million a year. Later that year in December, according to previous testimony, Jinwright leased a BMW 650 for his daughter and stated his annual income at $550,000. Prosecutors said tax records show the couple that year reported to the IRS adjusted gross income of $398,840.
Along with charges related to allegations of tax evasion, Anthony Jinwright was charged with mail fraud in relation to information he allegedly supplied on lease papers.
His wife and co-pastor, Harriet Jinwright, was charged with tax evasion but not mail fraud. So far, her name has appeared on only one lease application.
The government alleges that the couple, who head Greater Salem City of God, failed to report about $1.8 million in taxable income between 2001 and 2007. During that time, the indictment alleges, the Jinwrights received more than $5.3 million in payments and reimbursements from Greater Salem, not including gifts and cash given to them by church members.
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