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Showing posts from January, 2014

Judge’s Skeptical Questioning of a Pro Se Defendant/ Absence of Pro Se Defendant From a Sidebar Conference Outside of the Presence of the Jury

Ronald Ottaviano was indicted in the District of New Jersey for money laundering, tax evasion, wire fraud and conspiracy as a result of acting on his belief that he was not subject to the tax laws of the United States nor the penalties that flow from flouting them. At trial, he represented himself, and as described in United States v. Ottaviano, ___ F.3d. ___, Nos. 11-4553 and 13-1119 (3d Cir., December 24, 2013), initially was able, whilst being tried with four, counseled co-defendants, not to raise the ire of the trial judge. However, once the Government rested, and his defense began, his relations with the trial judge went downhill.
Ottaviano not only did not pay taxes, but operated a company that, for $3,500 (or $5,000 if purchased jointly by two persons), would file documents with federal and state governments that would purportedly turn the purchasing/participating taxpayer into a creditor of the government.Ottaviano claimed to be a college and law school graduate, a CFP, and c…