June 3, 2011
DENVER — Anti-tax crusader Douglas Bruce took the first round Friday in what promises to be a drawn-out court battle over his indictment on tax evasion charges.
Bruce, who was scheduled to enter a plea in Denver District Court, was granted a delay until July 11 so that he could review 21,000 pages of evidence that the Colorado Attorney General's Office had wanted to charge $5,250 for copies.
Bruce also persuaded Judge Ann M. Mansfield to lower his bail from $10,000 to $5,000.
The author of TABOR, a tax and spending limitation measure approved by voters in 1992, is representing himself against charges handed down in April by a statewide grand jury that he failed to pay income taxes in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Bruce requested more time to enter a plea because, he told the judge, the copying charges the AG's Office wanted had prevented him from examining the evidence and determining whether he needed to hire an attorney with expertise in criminal or tax law.
"Personally, I don't think I should have to pay 10 cents," he said.
He also objected to an offer that would allow him to go through the evidence while a member of the AG's staff was in the room with him.
That "would amount to pre-verdict confinement," he said, estimating it would take 8 1/2 work weeks to go through the documents.
Mansfield told prosecutors to give Bruce the computer disks with the evidence and to charge him for the cost of the disks, typically $10 or $15.
The hearing turned even more contentious when the prosecutor, First Assistant Attorney General Rob Shapiro, accused Bruce of being "extremely offensive and rude" to his paralegal when he asked for the documents.
Bruce denied being rude, contending, instead, that "I have a bad habit that someone says something that isn't true, of wanting to respond to it right away rather than wait 10 minutes."
Bruce scoffed at the resources the government has put into prosecuting him.
"This is not Enron, this is an individual person charged , supposedly, with not paying taxes on income," he said.