From the May 2004 Idaho Observer:


Hinkson convicted of all 16 counts by government's jury

by Scott Thurston and Don Harkins

After 10 hours of deliberations, a jury found Grangeville businessman, alternative healthcare researcher and inventor David Hinkson, 48, guilty on 16 counts of willful failure to file income taxes, willful failure to withhold income taxes and structuring. Hinkson faces up to 120 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for July 26, 2004.

Dave Hinkson relocated from Las Vegas in 1997 to build his colloidal minerals company Water Oz in Grangeville, Idaho. Before leaving Las Vegas Hinkson had established a reputation for being outspokenly opposed to corruption in government and its corrupt policies -- one of them being the federal income tax.

Water Oz became successful and Hinkson began to expand. He paid the people who chose to work at Water Oz in cash or silver, and they were happy to trade their time under those conditions. Somewhere between his open contempt for corrupt government, the success of his nutritional supplements and how he handled the finances of what he had built into a $multi-million sole proprietorship, the government got angry with Hinkson.

To punish him for daring to speak out against corrupt government; for daring to function in commerce in a manner that diminishes the amount of revenue government is able to extort from him; for daring to produce natural supplements that help the people who use them (instead of producing pharmaceutical drugs or some other chemical poison or toxic munition), the government has sent hither swarms of agents to eat out his substance.

Since 1998 Hinkson has endured endless harassment from various agencies of government, particularly the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the IRS. He has had so many federal agents/informants infiltrating his business and personal life that for the last several years it has been impossible for Hinkson to tell who was working with him and who was working for the government. Government had sewn itself so deeply into Hinkson's personal and private business that the people close to him could never be sure who was a spy -- and a person could change from one day to the next.

Somewhere along the line it became known that Hinkson was a “militia leader”and an “anti-government extremist” -- a rumor that has not even a speck of truth behind it, though you could call him an “anti-bad-government extremist.”

Rumors stimulated by local media helped to lay the groundwork so the government could publicly justify the militant actions it began taking against Hinkson.

Pre-Dawn raid

At 5:45 a.m., November 21, 2002, Hinkson was awakened when eight men dressed in black combat gear and carrying assault weapons barged into his bedroom and began yelling, “Freeze mutherfu**er.”

Hinkson was dragged out of bed by a plainclothes agent and taken to jail. His arrest was accomplished through what appears to be a defective warrant initiated by Federal Prosecutor Nancy Cook and IRS agent Steven Hines.

In April, 2002, Hinkson had filed a civil action in federal court. “In the lawsuit I alleged that IRS agent Hines and U.S. Prosecutor Nancy Cook had orchestrated over 12 grand jury tribunals in an attempt to indict me,” Hinkson explained.

Hinkson alleges that Cook and Hines conspired to violate numerous laws in their zeal to prosecute him.

Hines was the plainclothed agent that drug Hinkson out of bed during the pre-dawn SWAT raid on his home. Hinkson had never been arrested or charged with a crime in his life, had always appeared in court when asked to do so and was not “armed and dangerous.” The excessively forceful entry into his home at such an early hour can only be seen as an overt display of government's raw, unchecked power to do anything it wants to those who resist bending to its will.

Within hours Hinkson bonded out of jail. After thinking about the events of that morning, Hinkson said, “I believe that defendants Nancy Cook and Steven Hines orchestrated the raid on Water Oz and my home for the sole purpose of killing me and ending the lawsuit that was filed against them by me in the amount of $50 million.”

During a phone conversation, Hinkson told The IO that Cook had told him that, if he would drop the lawsuit, she would drop the charges against him.

During the ensuing months, Hinkson allegedly attempted to hire a man named J.C. Harding, a federal informant wearing a wire, to kill federal agents and two federal judges. Upon Harding's word, Hinkson was arrested and sent to Ada County Jail in Boise April 9, 2003. Though a transcript of the tape reportedly reveals that Hinkson did not attempt to hire Harding to kill anyone, Hinkson was not released from jail.

Numerous motions were filed on his behalf. All of them were dismissed by Idaho District Federal Judge Edward Lodge.

Finally, on April 26, 2004, after being imprisoned for over a year, Hinkson's “trial” began.

There were no charges against Hinkson for conspiracy to commit murder or anything associated with his arrest and subsequent year-long incarceration.

Other charges of mislabeling his product had been settled and were no longer before the court. At trial, Hinkson was being prosecuted for not withholding taxes from those the government classified as Water Oz employees and “structuring” his company to intentionally avoid what the government believes are his income tax liabilities.

Representing Hinkson at trial was Grangeville Attorney Wes Hoyt and co-counsel former federal prosecutor Sean Connelly. Hoyt and Connelly were certain that they could convince the jury that the third element necessary to convict Hinkson criminally for willful failure to file and withhold -- criminal intent -- cannot be proved.

Counsel was cautioned against depending on such a defense by friends of Hinkson who are familiar with IRS persecutions. Counsel was also informed that such a defense based upon a defendant's “belief” that he does not have to pay federal taxes is seldom successful in federal court.

The “trial”

Washington District Federal Judge Tallman was brought in to preside over this trial. Jury selection took place Monday April 26 and, by noon April 29, the government rested its case against Hinkson. It was apparent that the government did not put much energy into its prosecution. It's witnesses were brought in from all over the country, questioned for a few minutes and then released. It was apparent that “the fix was in” and the government just put on a show to pretend that Hinkson was being given a jury trial.

Beginning April 30, witnesses were called on Hinkson's behalf to testify that Hinkson was committed to his belief that he was not liable to pay income taxes.

When court was called back into session Monday May 3, Hinkson took the stand and testified for two and a half hours. He reportedly did an excellent job representing himself to the jury and was convincing in defending his actions as being part of his closely held beliefs that are the result of intensive investigation and study.

The “no defense” federal offense

Judge Tallman effectively assured Hinkson's conviction by preventing him from putting on the evidence vital to his defense. “...the District Court is to serve as the sole source of law for the jury....and the law should not be introduced as evidence in the case,” Judge Tallman said.

The jury was not allowed to know about the several-year Cook/Hines persecution of Hinkson, the civil action filed against them for malicious conduct, the pre-dawn raid on Hinkson's home and business or that he had been imprisoned for over a year awaiting trial. The jury was also not allowed to see that Hinkson had, for several years, been corresponding with the IRS in an attempt to compel that agency to identify the law requiring him to file. Nor was the jury provided with any insight into how much prison time Hinkson would likely receive upon conviction.

The “law” Judge Tallman would not allow to be discussed in his court is fundamental to the defense because Hinkson (and others) have repeatedly petitioned the government to show them the law requiring Americans to file income taxes. The government will not or cannot provide such a law.

It has been reported that the juror who became the foreman was uncommonly sympathetic to the federal government, indicating he was a “plant.” This revelation is consistent with reports from other federal court trials. It was also reported that four jurors wanted to acquit, which would have hung the jury and caused a mistrial, but those jurors were “persuaded” to convict Hinkson.

When one juror was told that Hinkson's conviction will likely result in him being sentenced to at least 50 years in prison, he reportedly “turned white as a sheet.”

Review of some 300 pages of documents reveals that innumerable violations of law and due process were employed to obtain a conviction in this case. Should Hinkson's counsel be willing to listen, avenues to undo this travesty may be explored.