Elderly tax protester solicited judge's murder, DA says - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Elderly tax protester solicited judge's murder, DA says

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FORT WORTH, Texas -

A 71-year-old North Texas inmate is accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill a federal judge on the first day of his tax trial.

The U.S. Attorney's office says Phillip Monroe Ballard, now residing in the Federal Corrections Institution in Fort Worth, asked another inmate to kill U.S. District Judge John McBryde last month.

The federal complaint alleges Ballard was worried McBryde would sentence him to 20 years in prison on tax charges during a case scheduled for today. The indictment says Ballard believes "as a sovereign citizen, he is immune from all the laws of the United States."

Ballard also admitted he was jailed for filing false tax returns and interfering with the IRS.

The complaint says Ballard offered another the inmate $100,000 in cash last month to have McBryde killed so his case would be assigned to another judge. That case was due to start Monday, Oct. 1.

The informant got an undercover FBI agent to pose as the hit man, the complaint says.

Ballard outlined a plan for the hit man to hide in the Burnett Plaza Building across the street from the courthouse and to shoot and kill McBryde with a rifle and scope as he entered the courthouse, the document says. Ballard provided maps and even suggested planting a bomb in the judge's car if the shooting attempt failed, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

The complaint says Ballard agreed to pay some money up front and the rest after the judge died. The D.A.'s office says Ballard emailed his sister requesting $5,000 be sent to an address the undercover officer provided.

A Department of Justice press release from February 2008 states Ballard, who is from Arlington, is permanently barred from preparing federal income tax returns for anyone except himself.

Other federal court filings mention Ballard as an "unabashed tax protester" and 2002 court representative for a Florida man who did not want to pay his taxes.

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