return to False Accusers Against Tony Alamo

Pastor Alamo railroaded to prison - Prosecutor Chris Belcher hides books
that would have proven Tony Alamo innocent

When the facts of this were shown to Memphis Federal Judge McCalla he refused Pastor Alamo a new trial.





No one is surprised when government officials lie—in this case we're talking about the IRS. The IRS is well-known for its harassment of American citizens. These abuses were most recently documented in congressional hearings. But what happens to the numerous people whose lives have been ravished by the IRS?

Pastor Tony Alamo, head of the Alamo Christian Ministries, was convicted in 1994 of tax abuse and spent four years in prison because of IRS lies. The IRS stole church property, threw hundreds of church families out of their homes, confiscated their personal property, and totally disregarded the most cherished of American freedoms—religious freedom—the right to choose a religion of ones personal beliefs.

In the 1980's and early 90's, the IRS had come under the influence of a blatantly antireligious, now defunct organization, the Cult Awareness Network (CAN), whose sole purpose was to destroy religions that they deemed as "cults." The IRS, always willing to believe that Americans would conceal taxes owed, adopted the preposterous claims against Pastor Alamo, of former, disgruntled, Alamo church members who were out for revenge after being kicked out of the church for lying, stealing and/or drug abuse.

The IRS set out to prove that Pastor Alamo and his church were a sham, that Pastor Alamo kept all church funds for his sole benefit, and that church members were mindless brainwashed followers. The IRS ignored the good works of the church, disregarded statements from Church members, and discarded supportive statements from numerous church and community leaders. The IRS didn't even consider the fact that they might be trampling on Pastor Alamo's First Amendment rights. They were out to convict. They only had one problem—they had to prove their case. The IRS had conducted two previous investigations of Pastor Alamo, but found no evidence of criminality. So, this time, the IRS resorted to withholding evidence from his lawyer, misleading the defense, and lying in a court of law.

It is now five years after his conviction, and the church has obtained irrefutable proof of Pastor Alamo's innocence. It's time to set the record straight.

Over the past year, the church has obtained new documents and information from depositions and Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests from the IRS's civil case against Music Square Church (MSC). Based on this new evidence, well-known civil rights attorney's Ron Kuby and Eric Lieberman, filed a motion in April 1998, to vacate Pastor Alamo's sentence asserting that his due process rights had been violated. The case charges the government with obstructing justice by concealing exculpatory material that they had the duty to disclose to the defense, charges IRS agents with giving false testimony, and charges the prosecutor with knowingly eliciting perjurous and misleading testimony from government witnesses.

In November 1998, the government issued a response to Alamo's motion to vacate his sentence (Plaintiff United States' Answer In Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Vacate Sentence. . .) that covers-up their original lies with more lies, and answers Pastor Alamo's charges with ambiguous, vague statements. But the more the government lies, the more they expose the fact that they perjured themselves and trampled on Pastor Alamo's due process rights. A look at the new documents concerning just two of the many government fabrications tells the real story. Below details the fact that the government lied about possession of Alamo's financial ledgers, and made secret government deals with witnesses while claiming otherwise.

The Financial Ledgers

During Pastor Alamo's 1994 trial, the government claimed that he refused to hand over his financial ledgers, thereby willfully obstructed the government's investigation. They used the absence of the ledgers to discredit Pastor Alamo with the jury. And the judge, believing that Alamo attempted to thwart the investigation by hiding the ledgers, sentenced him to the maximum prison term.

In early December 1998, the church found over 700 pages of its original general financial ledgers in the government's case files. The finding of these ledgers prove conclusively that the government had the ledgers in their possession at the time of the trial. The ledgers were independently verified by an expert, who is both an accountant and an attorney, who corroborated that "these documents were clearly ledgers and nothing else."

Pastor Alamo has always maintained that the government had taken the church's financial ledgers after they had raided the church's Georgia Ridge community. But during the trial, Alamo was called a liar, and the prosecutor skillfully used this against him with the jury. Church Minister Don Sweat had even copied some of the ledgers from the IRS offices in Nashville before the trial. When the defense produced these copies at the trial, the government suggested that the defense manufactured them just for the trial. The intent was obvious, to make Alamo sound devious.

But it was the government who was devious. They had the ledgers all the time.

In addition to the actual ledgers, the church recently discovered several other documents in the IRS files referencing government possession of ledgers. For example, found in Agent Larry Howlett's "Case Chronology Records" was one of the more incriminating documents proving that Howlett lied during the trial. In a February 1991 statement Howlett writes:

"With the assistance of Rich Bean of the Marshall service, we looked through the file drawers and shelves [of NSC] for ledgers. Here were more ledgers and journals than we had expected. To safeguard all the ledgers and journals, we moved all ledgers and journals to the IRS office and stored them in their property room."

In its November legal response, the government tries to write-off Howlett's statement, by saying that he really didn't mean to use the term "ledgers," but meant instead to say "journals, " and that he often confused the terms "journals" and "ledgers." (The government admitted to having journals.)

The government defends this claim by quoting a rather specious exchange between prosecuting attorney Chris Belcher and Howlett that occurred at the trial (government response, #47, page 13):
Blecher: Did you ever get any journals from representatives of Music Square Church?
Howlett: No, sir I did not.
Belcher: You did not get any journals?
Howlett: I got journals, excuse me, I'm sorry.
Belcher: Did you ever get any ledgers?
Howlett: No sir.

Howlett is not confusing the term's "journals" and "ledgers" as the government would like us to believe. Rather, in light of the new evidence, it is more likely that Belcher had to remind Howlett of what he was supposed to say. The government's response falls flat on its face. Agent Howlett was a 25-year veteran of the IRS and was a certified public accountant at the time of the trial. He fully understood the distinction between "journals" and "ledgers" and their critical importance to the case.

One of the most condemning documents, exposes that the government consciously removed (expunged) all references to the ledgers in the documents that they did disclose to the defense. The church discovered in Howlett's "Chronology as to Efforts to Secure Records," several statements that reference possession of the ledgers. Yet, this same document was given to Alamo's attorney at the time of the trial without a single reference to the ledgers. Most disturbingly, the church found another document that confirms that prosecutor Belcher actually oversaw Agent Howlett's revisions.

Confronted with these documents at a December 14, 1998 deposition on the MSC case, Howlett admitted that he had revised the documents he gave to the defense for trial.

Agent Howlett also admitted for the first time to having possession of the ledgers before Pastor Alamo's trial. Howlett acknowledged that as a close associate of prosecuting attorney Belcher, he too had seen the documents prior to the trial.

Agent Howlett's deposition and written statements are a clear admission of perjury and obstruction of justice. These newly discovered documents would have resulted in the impeachment of Mr. Howlett's obviously false testimony. Indeed, it is likely that there would not have been a trial in the first place.

Reward Money and Government Deals

The government claimed that they never made any deals with their witnesses. They testified to this fact, and the witnesses testified to this fact. However, five years after Pastor Alamo's trial, newly discovered documents prove that the government attempted to cover-up the fact that at least two of its key informants, Robert and Carey Miller, who provided significant testimony at Mr. Alamo's trial, filed Form 211, applications for reward money. The government hid this exculpatory material from the defense, preventing Alamo's attorney from seriously questioning the motives and credibility of these two key government witnesses.

The government relied heavily on the Miller's testimony to "prove" its case that Alamo had absolute control over church members and its businesses, and that he had altered church financial records in order not to pay taxes. If the jury knew that the Miller brothers were trying to get $21,000 each for testifying, they certainly would have been better able to assess their testimony and their credibility.

During his October 1998 deposition, Agent Howlett contradicted his trial testimony and admitted that both Carey and Robert Miller submitted Form 211's to the IRS, that he had submitted these forms to Agent Beauregard, and that the prosecutor Belcher knew of this.

The cache of newly received IRS documents also yielded a 1991 affidavit by Carey Miller stating that he had submitted Form 211 to the government in 1990. Miller also wrote that he had asked IRS Agent Brauweiler about the reward at a follow-up meeting some six months later.

Nonetheless, the government sticks to its story, and in its November response writes numerous pages attempting to show that the Miller's "probably did not even apply for a reward." To prove their point, they rely on such vague terms as "to the best of Agent Beauregard's knowledge...and...Mr. Belcher is of the opinion... that the Millers never submitted Forms 211..." [emphasis added]. Despite these lapses of memory (more lies), there is nothing vague about the statements on reward money in these newly discovered documents.

Of course, the government can't verify its claims since they allege they have no idea where the Millers are today. However, in November 1998, in a pleading filed in Jacksonville, Florida, an attorney for the Millers wrote that Peter Georgiades, the Miller's attorney at the trial (and lawyer for CAN) had recently been in contact with the Millers. The attorney even listed the Miller's new addresses in the pleading.

The government also asserts that discussions concerning reward money were mentioned only briefly during a single meeting with the Millers and Georgiades on March 6, 1990. Georgiades submitted a false affidavit in October 1998 to bolster the government's case, stating that while there was some discussion about Form's 211 during the March meeting, he "does not recall if his clients filled out or signed these forms." Mr. Georgiades contradicts himself in his own sworn statement in an unrelated lawsuit of 1991. The church found an affidavit in which Georgiades wrote, "After the hearing on March 6-7 1990, Mr. Howlett, Beauregard and Brauweiler all came to my hotel room, at which time we gave Mr. Beauregard an executed IRS Form 211, Application for Reward for Original Information."

Nonetheless, the government claims that they have "no indication of the Miller's ever receiving any reward money." Whether they received the money is not the point. The point is they applied, they thought they were going to receive the money, and it is the duty of the government to have informed Alamo's attorney of this fact.

Hundreds More Documents Prove Alamo's Innocence

The church found numerous additional IRS documents which prove Alamo's inno¬cence. Included are reports that expose that the government had indeed made deals with witnesses while they denied such deals. There were records of positive interviews with former church members who contradicted the government's allegations, and there is an interview with a former church accountant who testified to no wrongdoing. None of these were given to the defense. This is all exculpatory material.

Lies, lies, and more government lies to cover up the previous lies. Pastor Alamo served four years in prison because of government lies. It's time to stop the lies. Its time to clear his name and the name of the Alamo Christian Ministries.


Tony Alamo Christian Ministries Worldwide • P.O. Box 6467 • Texarkana, Texas 75505 USA
Twenty-four hour prayer and information line: (479) 782-7370 • Fax (479) 782-7406