A Sacramento judge said Thursday he will rule June 4 on an attempt by federal tax collectors to force well-known anti-war activist Cindy Lee Sheehan to produce financial records and answer questions regarding her failure to pay taxes.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John F. Moulds in February ordered Sheehan to respond in writing to an IRS summons served on her in November. Moulds also had directed that she appear before him Thursday.
Her attorney, Dennis Cunningham, filed a written response April 6, invoking his client's constitutional right not to incriminate herself. In an explanation now familiar to some Americans, he wrote that Sheehan's 24-year-old son Casey Sheehan was killed while serving in Iraq in 2004, after which she learned that the invasion of Iraq was "based on lies and deceit
on the part of the highest officials of the U.S. government."
Since then, Cunningham wrote, Sheehan has taken a strong stand against the government's "pretense that she can be dunned for any part of the cost of the lunatic imperial program
in which her child's life was sacrificed."
During this same period, Cunningham added, Sheehan has devoted her life to protesting the presence of U.S. military forces in foreign countries.
Cunningham, however, in his pleadings and in court Thursday seemed to hold out the possibility that Sheehan may yet file income tax returns for the years since her son's death, and still may appear for questioning by an IRS agent, although she might simply cite her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to each question.
The matter is in the Sacramento court because Sheehan's residence is in Vacaville, which lies within the federal judicial district based in Sacramento.
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