Archive for December 27th, 2011

Discovery Motions in Re Criminal Trial of Ronald Weinland

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

False Prophet Ronald Weinland was given a new title in a recent court filing by his defense team: “Defendant Ronald E. Weinland”.  There are actually two defense motions that were filed last week.  One motion was to extend the deadline for filing motions by at least two weeks, until January 5 or later.  The other motion was to require that the government preserve notes made by its agents which could be discoverable under the Jencks Act.  The Jencks act requires the government to provide as discovery any prior statements made by witnesses who appear at trial, or any material to which those witnesses may refer as part of their testimony during the trial.

We learn a few interesting things about the government’s case from these filings.  The Weinlands first learned about the case on Wednesday, July 2, 2008, when an IRS special agent confronted Ron and Laura for an interview. I wonder if the IRS special agent is sufficiently honored to have met the Two Witnesses of Revelation chapter 11.  In Ron’s sermon the following weekend (July 5, 2008), he mentioned great trials the prior week from a stirred up being.  A week later, on July 9, 2008, the IRS special agent began issuing 12 summonses to financial institutions for financial transaction records relating to Ron, Laura, and the church.

On July 29, 2008, Weinland filed a motion to quash these summonses arguing that they were overly broad because (1) they included tax year 2008 for which a filing wasn’t yet due and (2) included records for Laura and the church who weren’t under investigation.  On September 2, 2008 the government and Weinland reached a settlement on the issue of the summonses, with the government agreeing to drop tax year 2008 from the summonses.  The government did not agree to remove Laura or the church from their investigation.  Since the indictment charges Ron with a count for tax year 2008, the government must have reissued the summonses for 2008 transactions after Ron’s 2008 income tax filing was due (but not made).  In the end, the only thing Ron’s filing of the motion accomplished was to bring the criminal investigation to public view in 2008  — and this was a result of his own court filing which is a public record (the IRS is prohibited from publicizing investigations).

From the recent filings we also learn more about the government’s case.   The discovery provided is over 5000 pages and covers bank and credit card account transactions through numerous personal and church accounts.  The case against Weinland is based on an analysis of those transactions to assess whether they were legitimate church expenses or should have been treated as Ron’s personal income on which he would have been required to pay taxes.  As part of this assessment, the government conducted interviews of Ron and other individuals associated with the church.  One of those individuals would have been Audra Little, Ron’s daughter and the church bookkeeper.  Audra tried to evade answering any questions from the IRS and had to be ordered to do so in federal court during November of 2009.  The defense is seeking to discover before trial not only the summary memoranda of the interviews of Audra and others, but also the rough notes made by government agents during the interviews.

At one point, Ron mentioned investigators asking questions of church members.  Besides Audra, I imagine that Terry Wrozek and Johnny Harrell were interviewed.  If Ron takes this to trial, I expect that the government’s case-in-chief during the trial will include not only government agents and analysts, but also various PKG members.  I wonder if they’ll be willing to answer the questions put to them when they believe that Ron could “breathe fire” on them to prevent their testimony.