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Top Trump Lawyer Is a Longtime Tax Deadbeat

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Former President Donald Trump and his top election-fraud lawyer, Jesse Binnall, have a number of things in common—they both falsely believe the election was stolen, they hobnob with some of the right’s most unhinged conspiracy theorists, and they routinely complain that they’re the focus of a witch hunt. But another similarity has flown under the radar: Both men avoid paying taxes.

According to IRS records, Binnall owes the U.S. government for unpaid taxes dating back to 2010. The IRS filed a $139,242 lien against Binnall almost four years ago—in August 2018— and it covers unpaid amounts every tax year from 2010 to 2015. Records on file with the City of Alexandria, VA, show that, as of May 5, Binnall has not paid off the lien.

Leslie Levin, an expert in the legal profession at the University of Connecticut School of Law, told The Daily Beast that if Binnall willfully failed to file, he would be breaking the law and possibly violating legal ethics rules.

“It depends on why the lien was levied and why he hasn’t paid. If he refused to file, that raises ethical issues. The deliberate failure to file constitutes a crime,” Levin said. “If he has a good faith basis for contesting whether he owes the money, however, there is no ethical violation there.”

Binnall told The Daily Beast that his failure to pay the government was a matter of financial flexibility.

“Like many small business owners, in the past I had to be financially flexible as my business grew. That has resulted in some tax bills that I have had to arrange to pay over time, instead of all at once. Many business owners have been in the same position,” Binnall said. “The unfortunate question is whether these issues truly arise out of an attempt to serve the public good or whether I am targeted because of the clients I serve.”

Binnall, who has regularly trafficked in outlandish claims of election fraud, is not short on clients, and has handled numerous high-profile cases dating back to before the lien was imposed in 2018. In 2016, for instance, he represented former Sen. Ron Paul (R-KY) aide Dimitri Kesari in a campaign finance case. Kesari was found guilty, and his co-conspirators were later........

© The Daily Beast

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