Friday, March 20, 2009

Pastor Clarke Remains In Jail

A federal appeals court upheld the conviction of Birmingham, Alabama, pastor Gregory Clarke.

In 2007, a federal jury convicted the Rev. Clarke, pastor of the 6,000-member New Hope Baptist Church in Birmingham, on charges he filed false income tax returns for 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Prosecutors said Clarke underreported $100,000 in earned income and concocted schemes to deceive the government about the money. Clarke maintained at trial that he received gifts and love offerings.

Clarke's attorneys argued on appeal that there was not enough evidence to support a guilty verdict and that the jury was not a fair cross section of the community. He is serving his 21-month prison term at an Atlanta federal prison. Judges at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that there were no errors at the district court level and that the conviction and sentence should stand.

Read the three-judge panel's opinion.

[from The Birmingham News - by]

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