Billionaire Says Doctors Wrongly Helped U.S. Tax-Fraud Case
(Bloomberg) -- Doctors appointed to evaluate whether Texas software mogul Robert Brockman is competent to stand trial for tax fraud improperly helped U.S. prosecutors gather evidence against him, his lawyers claim in a court filing.
Brockman, 80, has said that his dementia prevents him from helping to defend against charges that he evaded taxes on $2 billion in income. Three doctors appointed by a federal judge to examine Brockman have found he’s competent.
But in a court filing Wednesday, his defense lawyers said the doctors aren’t “genuine neutral experts.” Rather, they asked Brockman about “his view of the potential evidence, facts underlying the charges in the indictment, and the defense strategy,” according to the filing.
Lawyers for Brockman said they consented to the appointment of the three doctors, assuming they would act neutrally as agents of the court. The defense team said it didn’t agree “that these doctors, under the guise of medical examinations, could act as agents for the government to question Mr. Brockman on substantive and strategic matters in the absence of counsel.”
Transcripts from the interviews show the doctors “used their access to Mr. Brockman to probe issues in the criminal case in the absence of defense counsel,” his lawyers wrote. Excerpts from the doctors’ interviews with Brockman were redacted in the Wednesday filing.
Brockman’s lawyers asked the judge to exclude testimony from the three doctors who already examined him and to appoint neutral experts.
Ultimately, U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. in Houston will decide whether Brockman will stand trial for the biggest U.S. tax-fraud case ever prosecuted.
Defense lawyers wrote that one of the doctors asked “many specific and detailed questions” about the indictment, and he probed about a Bermuda-based charitable trust that prosecutors allege Brockman used to help hide assets from the Internal Revenue Service. He is the former chief executive officer of software maker Reynolds & Reynolds.
Hanks has scheduled a competency hearing in September for Brockman.
The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on a pending criminal case.
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