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HOME > Dancing with the Stars > Dancing with the Stars 5

Judge denies request to delay Helio Castroneves' tax evasion trial


By Christopher Rocchio, 11/17/2008 

Helio Castroneves apparently lost a motion to postpone the start of his trial and his lawyer all in the same day.

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A motion by the Dancing with the Stars fifth-season celebrity champ's lawyers to postpone the start date of his trial on tax-evasion charges from March 2 to November was denied by U.S. District Judge Donald A. Graham on Friday, E! News reported.

The motion was filed on Thursday by Castroneves' lawyers, who claimed the trial would interfere with the IndyCar Series' 2009 schedule.

Despite his lawyer's claims it would be "catastrophic" for the two-time Indy 500 winner to miss the season and have to "face the prospect of losing his career based solely on the return of an indictment," Graham disagreed and denied the motion.

"This Court attempted to satisfy all attorneys in the case by having them consult their work calendars, personal calendars, etc," he wrote in the decision, according to E! News. "Since that date was agreed upon by all counsel, it will not be altered."

In addition to losing the motion, Castroneves also lost his attorney Mark Seiden -- who filed a motion Friday to withdraw from the case, according to E! News.

The move came at the request of prosecutors, who argued Seiden should step down due to his participation in "transactional matters that go to the core" of Castroneves' alleged illegal actions and his "intertwined relationship with both the evidence and one of the corporate entities at issue," E! News reported.

While Seiden had reportedly wanted to stay on the case, he was also aware there was a chance he'd be called as a witness.

Castroneves was indicted on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States of income taxes and six counts of income tax evasion last month.  He subsequently pleaded not guilty.

Castroneves is accused of fraudulently using an offshore corporation in the Netherlands to avoid paying income taxes on $5 million worth of licensing income from Penske Racing Inc. -- the IndyCar racing team he drives for --  between 2000 and 2002. 

He also allegedly failed to report $550,000 worth of sponsorship income from Coimex, a Brazilian import and export company, between 1999 and 2001.  In addition, he also allegedly filed six false federal income tax returns between 1999 and 2004.

If convicted, Castroneves could face more than 30 years in prison.

(Photo credit ABC)


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