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56-count indictment accuses Bessemer judge of tax evasion

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — A Jefferson County judge surrendered to authorities Tuesday after a 56-count indictment accused him of tax evasion and ethics violations for allegedly depositing campaign donations into a personal account and failing to report the income.

Circuit Judge Dan King, 51, of Bessemer turned himself in at the sheriff's office and was freed after posting a $50,000 bond.

An attorney for King, Ralph Armstrong, denied that the judge did anything wrong and said he would not consider a guilty plea.

King was relieved of his duties with pay following the indictment, and he would automatically be removed from office if convicted of any felony counts.

A news release from the attorney general's office said King was accused of income tax evasion and making false statements for allegedly filing false returns for 2003 and 2004.

King was charged with 25 counts each of ethics violations and misusing campaign contributions for allegedly depositing campaign donations and campaign checks into his personal account and using the money to pay a personal loan. Campaign donations from a real estate manager, four attorneys and the United Mine Workers of America went to King's personal account, according to the indictment.

Neither the individuals who were named in the indictment nor a union representative returned calls seeking comment.

King also was accused of two counts of violating campaign reporting laws by allegedly failing to disclose the value of his campaign accounts in 2004 and 2005.

Attorney General Troy King said aides presented evidence on Monday to a grand jury in Bessemer, where Dan King presides.

"When a judge is indicted for dozens of felony charges, and is alleged to have violated the laws he swore to uphold, it is extremely serious and deeply disturbing," said the attorney general, who is not related to the judge.

An investigator with the attorney general's office was acquitted last month on a perjury charge that revealed the existence of a probe involving the judge. The agent, Anthony Castaldo, was accused of giving false testimony during a gambling case in 2005, but jurors found him not guilty.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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