You are hereYahoo News: Protect Our Elections Calls on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to Step Down in Light of His Admission That He Falsified Twenty Years of Financial Disclosure Forms

Yahoo News: Protect Our Elections Calls on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to Step Down in Light of His Admission That He Falsified Twenty Years of Financial Disclosure Forms

Watchdog Group also Calls for Criminal Prosecution, Audit of SCOTUS Decisions, And Ethics Inquiry

January 25, 2011- Yesterday, the watchdog group asked the U.S. Justice Department to bring criminal charges against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for making false statements on his AO 10 Financial Disclosure forms every year since 2003 by falsely swearing under criminal penalty that his wife Virginia had no non-investment income. Within six hours of the group's request, Justice Thomas announced that he had now amended not seven but 20 years of financial disclosure forms to include his wife's income. Justice Thomas said that he "misunderstood" the filing instructions which asked him to check whether his wife had any non-investment income, and had checked "none."

Virginia Thomas worked at the Heritage Foundation from 2003 through 2007 and earned at least $120,000 each year, according to the foundation's IRS Form 990s. She then went to work for Liberty Central in a paid position according to CEO Sarah Field. Last Friday, Common Cause revealed Thomas's false statements in a letter to the Administrative Office of the Courts. Coverage by the Los Angeles Times failed to note the criminal nature of the matter.,0,2413407.story

Each of the AO 10 Financial Disclosure forms signed by Justice Thomas states in Section IX that it is certified under oath as follows:

"I certify that all information given above (including information pertaining to my spouse and minor or dependent children, if any) is accurate, true, and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief, and that any information not reported was withheld because it met applicable statutory provisions permitting non-disclosure." (Emphasis added.)

Under the signature box in bold capital letters is the following:


According to the Department of Justice Handbook on Prosecutions, persons with expertise in law are presumed to act "knowingly and willfully," and a defendant's signature on a document can help establish willfulness and knowledge. See United States v. Tucker, 133 F.3d 1208, 1218 n. 11 (9th Cir. 1998) (noting that signature proved knowledge of contents of return); United States v. Mohney, 949 F.2d 1397, 1407 (6th Cir. 1991) (holding that signature is prima facie evidence that the signer knows the contents of the return); United States v. Drape, 668 F.2d 22, 26 (1st Cir. 1982) (finding that defendant's signature is sufficient to establish knowledge once it has been shown that the return was false).

If charged, Justice Thomas could face up to one year in prison and a criminal fine for each false statement charge, and a civil fine of up to $50,000 under 5 U.S.C. appendix section 104.

Justice Thomas's conduct is similar to that of an FBI employee who oversaw background investigations for the agency in San Francisco. Rachelle Thomas-Zuill stated on a financial disclosure form that she owned three properties with an outstanding mortgage debt of $866,000, when in fact she owned six properties and had a debt of more than $2.2 million. Thomas-Zuill, who joined the FBI 13 years ago, pleaded guilty last week to making false statements to a government agency, a felony. She will be sentenced April 7th by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose. 



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