Joseph R. "Joe" Banister

Friday, July 08, 2005


Freedom Above Fortune News

Former IRS Special Agent & Legal Team On Radio Today

Dear Friends,

We are scheduled to appear on the "Radio Free Rocky D" show on WTMA in
Charleston, South Carolina at 4:00 PM EDT today (Friday the 8th of July).
Please visit www.wtma.com for more information.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Former IRS Special Agent’s Inquiry Penetrated The Highest Levels of the U.S.
Department of Justice

Dear Friends:

The “DiLeonardo Email”, described in my last detailed email announcement, has
been posted to www.freedomabovefortune.com (click on IRS LOCKOUT UPDATE in the
center of the screen and scroll down to the bottom). This is a “must see”
exhibit from my trial two weeks ago, which ended in an acquittal on all charges
leveled against me. Please reread the pertinent excerpt reproduced below.

Read article here.


Joe Banister Radio Interview

Joe Banister, along with attorneys Robert Barnes and Robert Bernhoft,
are guests on the Alex Jones Show.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005



The July 3rd newsletter entitled "The Power of Prayer & The Power of People"
included some information regarding Al Thompson's mailing address. The
information I received was not quite correct. Any correspondence should be sent
to Walter Allen Thompson, Taft Correctional Institution, Register No. 15089-097,
P.O. Box 7001, Taft, California 93268.

Using simply "Al Thompson" or an identification number that is not properly
designated might cause the mail to be returned.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Freedom Above Fortune News

From : Freedom Above Fortune
Reply-To : Joe Banister
Sent : Sunday, July 3, 2005 3:37 PM
To : List
Subject : The Power of Prayer & The Power of People

Freedom Above Fortune News

The Power of Prayer & The Power of People

Dear Friends:

Without question, a momentous event took place in Sacramento, California on the
afternoon of Thursday, June 23, 2005, at 1:35 PM Pacific Daylight Time. It was
not an event that involved a tsunami, Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson, or the
suspicious disappearance of a young lady in Aruba. It was an event that,
arguably, had a much more profound impact on the average American than any of
the events so often in the news these days. Yet, with the exception of one
biased national newspaper article, a few biased local newspaper articles (some
buried in a back page), a publication directed towards tax professionals, and a
few local 15-second radio announcements in the local area, “dominant media”
organs where the majority of Americans get their news chose not to report on
this event. What was this momentous event and why would it not be reported

The momentous event not worthy of wide reporting was that a jury of twelve of my
peers rendered a “not guilty” verdict in answer to four federal felony charges
that I conspired to defraud the United States by impairing and impeding the
Internal Revenue Service in the ascertainment, computation, assessment and
collection of taxes and that I willfully aided, assisted, counseled and procured
the filing of three materially false amended income tax returns.

It is true that accusations of conspiracy to defraud the United States and
accusations of aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns frequently
come and go without much media attention because the public has no interest in
the story, or the media believes the public has no interest in the story, or
government officials believe there is no public interest in the story.

Compare the miniscule Government and media attention regarding my recent “not
guilty” verdicts to the unprecedented Government and media attention at the time
the accusations against me and my alleged co-conspirator were first made public
some time ago.

For example, United States Attorney McGregor Scott spoke as if my guilt was a
foregone conclusion when he said in a November 18, 2004 Department of Justice
press release: “The blatant and far-reaching defrauding of honest taxpayers by
these two individuals warrants an aggressive federal prosecution…”

IRS Commissioner Mark Everson was equally sure of my guilt in the same press
release when he stated that: “Joe Banister, a former IRS agent, knew exactly
what he was doing. Tax professionals and employers who break the law will be
held accountable,…”

Sacramento IRS Criminal Investigation Special-Agent-in-Charge Roger Wirth
couldn’t resist joining the chorus and stated that: “Dozens of taxpayers were
adversely affected by the actions of Mr. Banister and Mr. Thompson.”

These high government officials were so certain of my guilt that they were
willing to publicly declare me so, even before I had my “day in court.” So much
for the cherished “presumption of innocence” enshrined in Anglo-American law for

Seemed like a story that every American should know about, wouldn’t you agree?
The statements of U.S. Attorney Scott, IRS Commissioner Everson, and IRS
Special-Agent-In-Charge Wirth indicate that my guilt was a forgone conclusion as
far as they were concerned. Can anyone argue that based on their public
statements, these officials would have bypassed a trial and just locked me up if
they had their way?

There was a time long ago when government officials on this continent resorted
to such tyranny. This country’s Founders rejected such tactics, and 229 years
ago this July 4th, they declared that the United States of America was
abandoning such tyranny. It is therefore an appropriate time for me to give
thanks for the hard work of our nation’s Founders.

Their work was not in vain. I have directly benefited from the protections
against government abuse they sacrificed so much to create. I have benefited
because in this country, a citizen has the right to speak freely. I have
benefited because in this country, a citizen is presumed innocent. I have
benefited because in this country, a citizen has the right to a jury trial, the
right to counsel, the right to due process of law, and the right not to be a
witness against oneself.

Americans fought and died for these protections and I salute each one of them
this Fourth of July. These protections were not instituted so that criminals
can break the law with impunity. These protections were without question
instituted because governments and government officials tend to abuse their
power. Reread the statements made by Mr. Scott, Mr. Everson, and Mr. Wirth and
ask yourself how 12 of my fellow citizens who did not previously know me came to
exactly the opposite conclusion.

The opposite conclusions, of course, resulted from the fact that a court of law,
unlike a Department of Justice press release, involves an adversarial process
whereby allegations, witness statements, and evidence are subjected to strict
scrutiny and guilt of the presumed innocent defendant must be proven beyond a
reasonable doubt.

As those who have been following my story for some time know, the journey that
eventually led to conspiracy and fraud charges and later to acquittal of those
charges began in early 1999, when, as an IRS Criminal Investigation Division
Special Agent, I asked my IRS superiors to help me understand why the evidence I
had accumulated and analyzed pointed to serious problems with the way the
Internal Revenue Service was administering the federal income tax. Rather than
address my concerns or show me the error of my analysis, my IRS superiors
encouraged my resignation. I spent the next 6 years conducting additional legal
research and speaking about the IRS’s suspicious reluctance to address my
concerns. I also worked during that time with other citizens and groups to try
to obtain answers to a growing list of questions relating to the way the federal
income tax laws were administered and enforced and I occasionally represented
clients before the IRS.

During the 6 year period, neither the IRS nor the U.S. Department of Justice
(DOJ) ever met with me to answer my questions. At one point the DOJ ignored a
request from one of its own trial attorneys to meet with me ( see
www.freedomabovefortune.com and click on IRS LOCKOUT UPDATE, Exhibit AF
DiLeonardo Email 061405 ) and the DOJ also reneged on a written promise to meet
and the IRS reneged on a verbal promise to meet. Instead, it became evident
that the agency decided to address my inquiries in the way it is most accustomed
to – brute force.

In or around the summer or fall of 2001, a criminal investigation was initiated
to investigate me. As this investigation progressed, the agency also filed a
civil complaint in March, 2003 seeking to prohibit me from representing clients
due to alleged disreputable conduct and later amended the civil complaint in
October, 2003 to allege additional disreputable conduct. Strange that a C.P.A.
and decorated former IRS criminal investigator with a reputation for excellence
all of sudden becomes a latter day Al Capone, isn’t it?

The civil complaint alleging the disreputable conduct proceeded through the
administrative process and Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Moran thwarted every
attempt to admit the evidence and witnesses that would disprove the allegations
against me. At one point, Moran even attempted to convene the hearing on a
military installation in San Francisco Bay called “Coast Guard Island” to keep
the public away. By the end of 2003, I was eventually denied any hearing at all
and the only government witness to testify against me during the penalty phase
perjured himself as to the extent of his authority. Nonetheless, ALJ Moran
ordered that I be prohibited from “practice” before the IRS in answer to the

Moran’s decision was appealed to the Secretary of the Treasury, who then
delegated his decision-making authority back to the IRS. The IRS official
designated by Treasury Secretary Snow not surprisingly rubber-stamped Moran’s
decision. The appeal of the decision made by the IRS official, who effectively
acted as plaintiff and judge, continues. ( visit www.freedomabovefortune.com ,
click on IRS LOCKOUT UPDATE, and scroll to the documents dated during 2003 for
more information )

Some time during 2001, IRS and DOJ officials apparently concocted a plan to
silence and discredit me once and for all. These government officials had to do
something to counteract the publicity I had received from an article about Mr.
Thompson and myself that had been published in the New York Times in October,
2000, a series of full page advertisements in U.S.A. Today throughout 2000 and
2001, and an appearance on 60 Minutes II in April, 2001. The plan was to accuse
me of criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States with my client, Mr.
Thompson. The civil complaint process described earlier was just one part of
the plan clearly designed to diminish my financial resources and an
(unsuccessful) attempt to get evidence for the criminal conspiracy accusation.

The plan to silence and discredit me once and for all continued into November,
2004, when I was indicted for conspiring with Mr. Thompson to defraud the United
States and for preparing three false amended income tax returns. I was arrested
on November 18, 2004 by IRS special agents that I personally knew and had worked
with. I was released later that day on a $25,000 unsecured bond. Mr. Thompson
was arrested that same day and he was not released. Due to the fact that Mr.
Thompson’s desire for a speedy trial conflicted with my desire for sufficient
time to prepare my defense, our trials were severed. Mr. Thompson’s trial was
scheduled for January 19th, 2005 and my trial date was eventually set for June
14th, 2005. Mr. Thompson chose to defend himself at his trial without an
attorney. I chose to engage the services of trial attorneys Jeffrey Alan
Dickstein and Robert G. Bernhoft of the Bernhoft Law Firm ( www.bernhoftlaw.com

Mr. Thompson’s trial occurred as scheduled on January 19th. Mr. Thompson
experienced extreme difficulties in defending himself without an attorney and
being incarcerated prior to and during the trial. I could only watch in silence
and sadness as he attempted to navigate through the legal procedures of a
criminal trial. The jury eventually returned “guilty” verdicts on all charges
except conspiring with me to defraud the United States, a charge for which the
jury rendered a “not guilty” verdict against Mr. Thompson.

I spent January through June, 2005 preparing for my own trial with the
assistance of Mr. Dickstein and Mr. Bernhoft. I knew that the allegations
against me were themselves false and fraudulent and intended to silence and
discredit me. Nonetheless, defending against such horrendous allegations is
extremely hazardous and, if not done carefully, horrendous consequences would
most surely follow.

Given my prior experience with criminal prosecutions, I knew that the costs of
providing for my wife and children and maintaining a competent defense were
beyond my means, so I sought the help of all who had come to know me (or know
about me) since the time of my IRS resignation in 1999. This phenomenon is part
of the reason why I titled this article “The Power of Prayer & The Power of

Since my resignation from the IRS in 1999, I encountered and spoke with enough
people to convince me that there was a huge number of Americans who were well
aware of the injustices inflicted by what I call the “income tax enforcement
apparatus” and the nearly impossible odds of surviving an attack by that
apparatus. I knew that if I was to prevail in proving that these charges
against me were false, I would need the spiritual and financial support of those
Americans. As I had done throughout the civil complaint process, I would
intermittently request donations so that I could continue the fight, while at
the same time providing “play by play” details of the proceedings so that people
could see how the “income tax enforcement apparatus” really does business.
Since I have always turned to God for help with my struggles, I encouraged my
supporters to join me in praying for the success of my efforts. I also asked
for financial assistance to the crushing burden that an attack from the “income
tax enforcement apparatus” brings. The cards, letters, prayers, checks, money
orders, five dollar bills would roll in, sometimes at a trickle and sometimes in
a torrent, depending on what was happening in the battle. In effect, “my
battle” became “our battle”. The “income tax enforcement apparatus” is no match
for the power of thousands of people praying and working for justice.

Throughout this ordeal, I asked God for strength, courage, and discernment.
Based on the beautiful cards and letters I received, I know that thousands of
good Americans prayed in a similar manner. During the months leading up to my
June 14th trial, I would occasionally have “butterflies” when I considered the
battle before me. But, as the trial date drew nearer, the butterflies
diminished and, by the first day of the trial, I had no butterflies whatsoever!
I entered the Sacramento court room with tremendous calm and peace that I can
only attribute to the collective prayers offered by all. The Power of Prayer &
The Power of People!

The memorable events of the trial are much too numerous and complex to explain
in great detail in this article. For a recap of daily events during the trial,
please visit www.joebanister.blogspot.com . I also hope to have daily events
published at www.freedomabovefortune.com (click on IRS LOCKOUT UPDATE) and will
send future articles to my email list describing other events of the trial.

One particular trial event, however, is worthy of mention here – the testimony
of Thomas DiLeonardo, currently an Assistant United States Attorney from New
Jersey. Mr. DiLeonardo served as the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division
prosecutor in 1998 for one of the income tax cases I investigated when I worked
at the Internal Revenue Service.

One of the prosecutors in my criminal trial, Assistant United States Attorney
Robert Twiss, questioned Mr. DiLeonardo about his interaction with me during our
working relationship in 1998. Among the questions posed on direct examination,
Mr. Twiss asked whether Mr. DiLeonardo recalled me asking him about “section
861” of the Internal Revenue Code. Mr. DiLeonardo responded that I had never
asked him about “section 861” of the Internal Revenue Code. Mr. Twiss
apparently thought that the absence of any discussion about “section 861” of the
Internal Revenue Code between me and a federal prosecutor assigned to my
investigation in 1998 somehow evidenced my lack of sincerity in connection with
my own legal research. Mr. DiLeonardo’s direct testimony about what we did not
discuss did not seem to resonate with the jury; Mr. DiLeonardo’s testimony on
cross examination, however, did resonate with the jury according to my later
discussions with some of the jury members.

Pursuant to trial discovery rules, Mr. Twiss was required to disclose prior
statements Mr. DiLeonardo made concerning me. Thus, a few minutes before Mr.
DiLeonardo testified, Mr. Twiss handed my attorney Jeff Dickstein an April 17,
2001 email that Mr. DiLeonardo had authored. In that email, Mr. DiLeonardo had
informed his superior, Ronald Cimino, the Chief of the Department of Justice’s
Criminal Tax Division for the Western United States, that I had previously
spoken with Mr. DiLeonardo about my questions and he (DiLeonardo) believed I
would listen to the Tax Division if they would meet with me to show me the error
of my views.

According to Mr. DiLeonardo’s trial testimony during cross examination by Jeff
Dickstein, Mr. Cimino not only never contacted me (Banister) to arrange a
meeting, but Mr. Cimino never even responded back to his subordinate DiLeonardo
in answer to DiLeonardo’s email. In effect, Mr. Twiss’s own witness confirmed
that I was not only sincere in my beliefs and willing to listen, but that the
“income tax enforcement apparatus” chose to ignore a request from one of their
own prosecutors to address my concerns. A copy of this email will be posted at
www.freedomabovefortune.com (click on IRS LOCKOUT UPDATE, and scroll to the
DiLeonardo email). The jurors I spoke to after my trial did not view Mr.
DiLeonardo’s direct testimony as evidence of any bad faith on my part but they
definitely viewed Mr. DiLeonardo’s cross examination testimony as evidence that
I had sincerely sought answers to my questions throughout the alleged conspiracy
period. The Power of Prayer & The Power of People!

As time progresses, I will attempt to gather as much information as possible
about my trial and post it to my website as time and funding permits. I can
assure you there are details about this ordeal that will astound even the most
experienced observers. In the interim, I am anxious to resume my
responsibilities as husband and father since those responsibilities have by
necessity been neglected.

I could not have endured this battle were it not for each and every person
contributing to this effort. There were those who provided me with legal
research, those who provided me with ideas and strategies, those who sent
letters of encouragement, those who sent prayers, those who sent prayer books
(such as “The One Year Book of Psalms”, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.), those
who sent Bible verses, those who urged me not to give up, those who urged me to
“hang in there”, those who sent cartoons and jokes, those who sent gift
certificates and gift cards, those who sent $5.00 per week, those who sent
$15.00 per week, those who sent larger donations that were clearly a large
economic sacrifice, those who sent out their own emailed donation requests, and
those who missed many days of work and time with their own families to attend my

A couple of days after returning home, I visited my post office box and it was
filled with many congratulatory letters, prayers of thanksgiving, and donations
as well, many post-marked the day after my acquittal, June 24th.

I personally open every piece of mail that is sent to me. As I have said
before, I wish I could thank each of you individually but it is physically
impossible. All I can do is thank you through these emails and show you the
depth of my appreciation through my perseverance. The Power of Prayer & The
Power of People!

My defense team and I spent the four weeks leading up to the trial, the nearly
two weeks of the trial itself, and then the aftermath of winding down a
Herculean defense effort in 5th gear at 6,000 RPMs. We crossed the finish line
and bested our opponent! We are now trying to meet payroll, travel, lodging,
duplication, shipping, and other logistical expenses incurred during that time
period that brought us to the finish line. I also had to miss many weeks of
work, which has increased the financial hardship. I therefore must ask you,
once again, that to the extent you are able, please continue to pray for this
effort and, where possible, provide whatever financial assistance you can offer.
Contributions can be mailed to Joseph Banister Legal Defense Fund, c/o of
Freedom Above Fortune, P.O. Box 90239, San Jose, California 95109-4239.
Contributions for family/household needs can be made payable to “Joseph
Banister” or “Marisa Banister”.

Media Appearances

My attorney Robert Bernhoft and I will be appearing on the Alex Jones show on
July 5th from 11:00 am PDT to 12:00 pm PDT. Visit www.infowars.com for more
information. My attorney Robert Bernhoft and I will be appearing on the Bill
Myer show on July 8th at 8:15 am PDT. Visit www.kmed.com for more information.
My attorney Robert Bernhoft and I will be appearing on the Power Hour show on
July 14th from 7:00 am PDT to 8:30 am PDT. Visit www.thepowerhour.com for more

Al Thompson

Please don’t forget Al Thompson. Although some may criticize him for the
decisions he made, I know in my heart that he acted in good faith and people
that act in good faith do not belong in prison, certainly not in the United
States of America. Please write to him at Taft Correctional Institution,
15089-0987 A1A, P.O. Box 7001, Taft, California 93268.


-For those who have received this message as a forward from someone else, you
can sign up to receive these messages directly by visiting
www.freedomabovefortune.com and clicking on "Mailing List".

-For those who are unfamiliar with what has transpired to date in this case,
please visit www.freedomabovefortune.com and click on "IRS LOCKOUT UPDATE" or
visit www.joebanister.blogspot.com . You can also find archives of informative
radio shows at www.hearliberty.com .

-My sincere thanks to those who have prayed for the success of our efforts and
contributed to my defense fund. Your continued financial support is enabling me
to illustrate, in detail and in a very public manner, that the IRS does not
prevail against citizens because the agency adheres to the rule of law, but that
the IRS prevails against citizens because the agency ignores the law, twists the
meaning of the law, and overwhelms the citizen with economic and legal burdens.
In a school yard, such tactics are called "BULLYING". In a government setting,
such tactics are called "TYRANNY". This effort is the equivalent of ganging up
on the bully and sending him to reform school where he belongs.


Kind regards,

Joseph R. (Joe) Banister, C.P.A.
Former IRS Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent
www.freedomabovefortune.com www.joebanister.blogspot.com

George Orwell, 1984:

"You are a slow learner, Winston," said O'Brien gently.

"How can I help it?" he blubbered. "How can I help seeing what is in front of my
eyes? Two and two are four."

"Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three.
Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to
become sane."